Being very poor in short periods of play and not being desperate enough in the field were the two main concerns Proteas coach Mark Boucher had after the ODI series loss to Pakistan.
South Africa lost the decisive 50-over match at Centurion on Wednesday evening by 28 runs but were competitive for almost the entire contest despite missing six first-choice players. They were not only deprived of their five IPL stars, but Van der Dussen had to pull out due to a quad strain.
“We want to start winning series, especially at home, so it is very disappointing to lose this one,” Boucher said after Wednesday’s match.
“We knew a while ago that the IPL guys would be leaving, so the players coming in were prepared. It was unfortunate to lose Rassie to injury, that was another blow, and although a couple of the guys coming in did really well, it’s not about individuals but about the team, and we lost.
“The problem is when we’re not good in certain pockets of the game we are really bad. For example the last two overs (of the Pakistan batting innings on Wednesday) going for 43 runs … if we had kept that down to 25 then we would have had a much better chance of winning.
“I would also like to see higher intensity and more desperation in the field; we maybe would have won the first ODI if we had been better in the field.
“The senior players need to stand up in those tough, pressurised moments. Even when we’ve played at only 50%, we’ve still had a chance to win if it were not for disappointing little things.
“But it was good to see we have some depth, we’ve got backup players who can stamp their mark on international cricket. Kyle Verreynne, Janneman Malan and Keshav Maharaj all did really well,” Boucher said.