Mark Boucher dissects South Africa’s loss to Pakistan

South Africa lost the Rawalpindi Test by 95 runs after going down in the first Test of the series in Karachi by seven wickets.

On Monday, the Proteas found themselves in a great position to square the series.

They were 241 for 3 in a chase of 370, but lost their last seven wickets for just 33 runs to fold up for 274.

Reflecting on South Africa’s disappointing show, Mark Boucher was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo:

“The way we played in big moments really cost us. Our match awareness of when to tighten the screws was lacking. That is the reason why we lost the game. We didn’t bat well, didn’t field well but our bowling stood out. We created opportunities, we just didn’t take them. That cost us, in this game alone, about 150 runs.”

South Africa’s fielding in the series, otherwise their strong suit, was also below par.

In Pakistan’s second innings at Rawalpindi, South Africa grassed the chances of Mohammad Rizwan (who went on to score a century) and Faheem Ashraf. Pakistan were 76 for 5 at the stage.

“If we had taken those catches, we would have them 76 for 7, [and] maybe bowled them out for 120, chased 220 and won the game,” Boucher admitted.

South Africa’s latest loss in Pakistan comes on the back of their defeats in Sri Lanka and India over the last three years.

While their batsmen are clearly struggling in sub-continent conditions, Boucher feels the problem is more in the mind.

“Maybe there are some technical issues in guys are getting out in the same sorts of ways every time but we are continuously looking at little technical things that we can improve on. I think it’s more mental. There’s lots of scars from past tours to the subcontinent. Some guys who have had technical issues in the past, like Aiden Markram spent time at the crease and was able to fight his way through it. It’s more mental than anything else.”

South Africa’s temporary Test captain Quinton de Kock managed only 74 runs in the two Tests, with a top score of 29.

Questions are being asked on whether the additional responsibility of captaincy is getting to him.

Boucher, however, refused to single out one reason for de Kock’s lack of runs.

“Batters go through periods where they score and periods where they don’t score. Quinny, unfortunately, it’s been when he had the captaincy as well. It’s difficult to answer yes or no because batters go through lack of form at certain times. The big thing is that when you are a captain everything is highlighted, so his lack of form has been highlighted,” Boucher said.

With the three-Test series against Australia postponed, South Africa do not have any confirmed Test fixtures for the rest of 2021 as of now.

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