India vs South Africa: Bhuvneshwar Kumar was special throughout the series, says Proteas coach Mark Boucher

South Africa head coach Mark Boucher heaped praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saying the senior India pacer proved to be a threat to the visiting team in the recently-concluded 5-match T20I series. Boucher said it was Bhuvneshwar who put the brakes on the scoring rate throughout the series after the off-day in New Delhi where South Africa chased down 211.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar won the Player of the Series Award for his exploits of 6 wickets in 4 matches. The senior pacer picked up 6 wickets and was lethal in the powerplay, getting the ball to move both ways. Bhuvneshwar conceded at just 6.07 runs per over, the best economy rate for India in the 5-match series.

Bhuvneshwar became the first Indian pace to win more than one Player of the Series honour in T20I cricket and overtook Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma’s tally of 3 Player of the Series awards in international cricket.

“Bhuvi was special in this whole series as we came up against some quality bowling. He put us under pressure in Powerplays and barring one game (Delhi), where we got off to a good start, they have dominated us with both ball and bat in Powerplays,” Boucher said after the series ended in a 2-2 draw.

South Africa went up 2-0 in the 5-match series after winning in New Delhi and Cuttack but they bounced back to level the series with comprehensive victories in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.

India had the momentum as they headed into the series finale in Bengaluru but rain played spoilsport as only 3.3 overs were bolwed.


Boucher lauded India’s bench strength saying, it’s never easy for any touring team to beat the Asian giants at home despite them resting key players, including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah for the 5-match series.

“I know there weren’t a lot of top (India) players over here but the depth that Indian cricket has at the moment largely due to the IPL, they can take a lot of confidence as well.”

“You just cant walk up in India and expect to win a series as well. So, we played a couple of good games and two bad games and there are a couple of reasons for that, but you can’t get too much into it,” he added.

Boucher said the long IPL season had an effect on the South Africa players but said that the Proteas learnt a lot from the series in India.

“We didn’t play our best cricket and it was quite tough on our IPL players to stay throughout the whole IPL and then come to India back-to-back as well,” Boucher said.

“Guys are little bit tired as well. So they will all enjoy the break and (having learnt a) lot of lessons in World Cup year. And see, if we can plug a few gaps going into Australia albeit in different conditions.”

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