Boucher responds to Proteas' rain-induced World Cup heartbreak: 'We wanted to play'

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Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma  (Gallo)
Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma (Gallo)

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher says that the Proteas wanted to finish their T20 World Cup opener against Zimbabwe in Hobart on Monday despite the conditions and that Zimbabwe would have wanted the same outcome had they been in South Africa's position.

It was a hugely frustrating outing for the Proteas, who were far better than their African neighbours and well on course for a valuable Pool 2 victory before the umpires - Ahsan Raza and Michael Gough - finally pulled the players off the field one last time.

At that point, the Proteas were 51/0 in just three overs, needing another 13 for victory in four remaining overs after their target of 80 in nine overs had been reduced to 64 in seven following another delay.

SCORECARD | T20 World Cup: Proteas v Zimbabwe

Quinton de Kock (47* off 18) did all he could to get his side over the line in time, but it was not to be.

READ | Hobart rain cruelly denies Proteas World Cup points in farcical circumstances

Addressing the conditions after the match, Boucher acknowledged they were "tough" but said the decision was ultimately out of his control.

"I thought it was tough conditions. We are here to play a World Cup, and, obviously, we wanted to play," said Boucher.

"It seemed like both captains wanted to play at the start, and having a look at the game before [Bangladesh v Netherlands], the field was fairly wet as well, and there had been a bit of rain around.

"The bottom line is that players don't make those decisions; the officials are there to make those decisions, and that's what happened."

Live with decisions

When asked if he would have been comfortable with his bowlers having to operate in the conditions Zimbabwe faced towards the back-end of the match - they lost bowler Richard Ngarava to injury because of the slippery turf - Boucher was quick to respond.

"I think we did. We bowled with a ball that was quite wet as well," he said.

"We were in a very good position, so if you walk away from this game you're going to be thinking we were hard done by, whether the game should have taken place or not.

"If Zimbabwe were in our position, they would wanted to have carried on playing.

"We're not there to make the calls; that's what the officials do. The officials made the call, and we have to live with their decisions."

The positive, the coach added, was that this didn't come at a time when the Proteas had their tournament riding on the outcome as was the case at the 1992 and 2003 50-over World Cups.

"The positive is it's not a do-or-die game for us. We are still in control of what happens in this World Cup," he said.

"Yes, we haven't had a good history with rain, but I'd rather have it happen in the first game where we are still in control of what we can actually do. It's a tough group and there is probably one game that is really going to be a game that we have to win, but it's still very early in the tournament.

"I'm just happy with the way that we played and our intensity was very good today, so that's a positive I can take out of it and also Quinny (De Kock) played some really special cricket shots which I think sends a bit of a message as well."

The Proteas are next in action when they take on Bangladesh on Thursday. Rain is also forecast for that match.

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