Proteas’ intensity in dead rubber outing impresses Mark Boucher | Sport


Former South African player and now coach Mark Boucher

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  • South Africa completed a 3-0 T20 series win over Sri Lanka, with coach Mark Boucher delighted over how they dominated in Sri Lanka.
  • Boucher says he has spoken to the Proteas bound for the Indian Premier League, staged in the UAE days before the T20 World Cup.
  • Boucher hopes his IPL stars will adapt and get some insight into the conditions before starting their World Cup campaign on 23 October.

The Proteas’ form heading into the T20 World Cup is better than ever following South Africa’s 3-0 clean sweep against Sri Lanka in the three-match T20 series.

On Tuesday, South Africa finished their tour of Sri Lanka in glorious style when they sealed a crushing 10-wicket win in the final T20 in Colombo.

The win saw the Proteas equal their record of seven successive T20 victories – first achieved in 2009.

They had clinched their third straight T20 series in the shortest format with victory in the second match and went into the dead-rubber with only one change as Wiaan Mulder replaced Anrich Nortje. 

After being asked to field, a superb bowling display saw the Proteas restrict Sri Lanka for 120 for 8 with Kagiso Rabada (2/23) and Bjorn Fortuin (2/21) taking two wickets each.

Unbeaten fifties from Quinton de Kock (59*) and Reeza Hendricks (56*) saw South Africa chase down 121 without any drama and plenty of balls to spre.

Proteas coach Mark Boucher highlighted the importance of South Africa’s emphatic dead-rubber win and added that this would be in good stead heading into next month’s T20 World Cup.

“We understand that going into a World Cup, you’ve got to treat each game as important as the others. And it becomes a habit to lift yourself up in games, where you’re expected to win and go out there and do it,” Boucher told reporters on Tuesday.

“This is part of the growth within the team. We are not really focused on the outcome, more on the process and what can we do in the build-up towards big games and more so in dead-rubbers. It’s part of our learning process and where we’re going to.”

This was the Proteas’ final bilateral series before next month’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, scheduled from 17 October to 14 November.

South Africa will open their campaign against Australia in the first game of the Super 12 stage at the Abu Dhabi International Cricket Stadium on 23 October.

While the debate over SA’s T20 World Cup squad continues ahead of this year’s rescheduled global showpiece, Boucher understands that the Proteas are not a finished product but remains confident in his side.

“We believe we have the players to be able to put out successful combinations in terms of the conditions that we’ll face in the UAE.”

On Wednesday morning, six Protea members will board a flight to the UAE for the resumption of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The six include De Kock, Rabada, Nortje, David Miller, Aiden Markram and Tabraiz Shamsi with fast bowler Lungi Ngidi already in the Middle East.

The IPL starts on Sunday with De Kock’s Mumbai Indians taking on Ngidi’s Chennai Super Kings (16:00 SA time).

Boucher says that he has spoken to the IPL-bound players and wants them to gain as much insight into conditions in the UAE.

“We’ve spoken to the guys going off to the IPL. They need to stay disciplined and we realise that we want to peak at the right time as a unit,” said Boucher.

“There are a couple of things that I’ve spoken to individuals that they can work on, but more to pick up information when playing in those kinds of conditions. It’s going to get them ready for a big tournament.

“I’m not too sure who is going to play what games, but if they manage themselves well and get some time in the nets and used to the facilities, it’ll stand us in good stead.”

Markram was the latest South African to get an IPL gig as he will make his debut for the Punjab Kings.

Boucher hopes that Markram and the rest of the IPL stars adapt quickly and get themselves ready for a World Cup title pursuit.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for a guy like Aiden, who has shown he has grown a helluva lot in his game. It’ll be a great experience for him,” said Boucher.

“I just hope the guys look after themselves and help make sure they’re peaking for us at the right time.”

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