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Bitter pill to swallow; tough on guys in changing room: Boucher after missing S-F grade

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Sharjah, Nov 7 (IANS) South African coach Mark Boucher conceded that not being able to make the last-four grade at the ICC T20 World Cup despite beating one of the toughest sides in the tournament was a “bitter pill to swallow”, but added that the team knew “the equation was very difficult for us to have to get through”.

South Africa put up a commanding performance in their last Group 1 ‘Super 12’ game on Saturday evening defeating England by 10 runs, but the Net Run Rate (NRR) to displace Australia from the No. 2 spot in the group was just too difficult to achieve.

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England, despite the loss, topped the group, and Australia, who had beaten the West Indies in a Saturday afternoon game, became the two teams from Group 1 to make the last-four grade in the tournament.

“It’s a tough one for the guys in the changing room. We knew what we had to do; the equation was very difficult for us to have to get through,” said Boucher during the post-match press conference on Saturday night.

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The Proteas required a winning margin of 60 runs against England to make the semis ahead of Australia, and Boucher said the 10-run win was no consolation. “It is not successful because you’re knocked out of a World Cup, so it is a bitter pill to swallow. I think we played some very good cricket throughout the campaign cricket under a lot of pressure as well after having lost our first game.

“We put in a lot of hard work in training, our chats were good. I think we beat the in-form side in white-ball cricket for a while now. I just said to the guys just try control what we can control. Unfortunately, we can’t control what other results are out there. We did the job but it’s quite bitter,” added the former South African cricketer.

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Reflecting on the loss, England skipper Eoin Morgan said, “We’re not going to be at our best every game, but we do need to find ways to win. I think in the field, actually, we weren’t as intense as we have been previous game. Just small things that we didn’t do as neatly or as cleanly as we would have liked.

“But with the ball, we probably kept them to a reasonable score, in and around par. Obviously, when your premium batsman goes down, that does hurt you, particularly given the form that he’s in. And also, on the other hand, the other guys that haven’t batted a lot in the tournament came in, struck the ball really well which is a great sign obviously for the semi-final.”

–IANS

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