Players need to put their hands up: Mark Boucher

Johannesburg: After suffering a 107-run defeat against Australia in the first T20I of the three-match series, South Africa coach Mark Boucher said that the players need to step up and grab their opportunities.

Chasing 197, South Africa was bowled out for 89, which is their lowest T20I score. No batsmen managed to stay at the crease for a long time and only Faf du Plessis (24) managed to stay at the crease for some duration.

Ashton Agar was the star bowler for Australia as he scalped five wickets, en route to becoming just the second Australian to take a hat-trick in T20Is.

“There are certain places up for grabs and with guys getting opportunities, it’s important that they take them now. A month or so before the World Cup we want to have our minds on who we want to take as a 15-man squad but it’s difficult for players to make a name for themselves a month before the tournament,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted Boucher as saying.

“Now is the time that players need to put their hands up and stake a claim for positions and there are still position up for grabs. We don’t quite know what our combinations are going to be and we are waiting for guys to step up,” he added.

However, the coach said the just one defeat should not bother people much and the side is headed in the right direction ahead of the World T20.

“It’s not the end of the world – losing one game of T20 cricket. Yes, we are going to have to shape up quite a bit in the next week but there is also a plan going through to the next World Cup,” Boucher said.

South Africa will now take on Australia in the second T20I on Sunday, February 23.