Impressive stats for Proteas women

Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)
Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - Opener, Laura Wolvaardt unsurprisingly topped the batting averages for the Proteas at the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup, while captain Dané van Niekerk was the best bowler – not just amongst South Africans, but overall.

The South Africans won the hearts of many in their run to the semi-final over the past month in England. They were eventually beaten by the hosts, who went on to win the final against India at Lord’s on Sunday.

Wolvaardt, one of three players named in the Team of the Tournament, scored 324 runs at an impressive average of 64.80. The 18-year-old struck four half-centuries in the seven matches she played, with a top score of 71. Fellow opener, Lizelle Lee was another of the stand-out players with the bat. She made an aggregate of 269 runs at an average of 44.83. Lee’s strike rate of 103.46 was what particularly stood out as it was the highest amongst openers, while her 12 sixes were the most by any batter.

One other player did well with the bat and that was ex-skipper Mignon du Preez, whose average of 57.25 placed her seventh overall. She recorded 229 runs in total.

“Batting has always been our headache,” coach Hilton Moreeng said. “The way the batters came to the party at this World Cup showed the amount of maturity, growth and work that was put in.  The power-hitting was a real highlight and it’s an important element that can change the entire face of a game should a player be able to do that. So overall it was fantastic and it’s something we can certainly build on.”

Van Niekerk, meanwhile, topped the bowling charts with 15 wickets, finishing two clear of compatriot Marizanne Kapp (13). Both joined Wolvaardt in the ICC world team.

The skipper averaged a miserly 10 runs per wicket and her best haul was the incredible four wickets for zero runs against West Indies during the group stages. It was one of three four-wicket hauls for Van Niekerk, who also contributed 99 runs with the bat.

Kapp, meanwhile, took her wickets at an average of 19.38 with a best return of 4/14, also against the West Indians. She was amongst four South Africans to have taken 10 or more wickets, the other two being Sune Luus (10 wickets at 17.40) and Shabnim Ismail (10 wickets at 26.40).

“Our bowlers generally always know what to do,” Moreeng added. “They’ve proven that in the different conditions that we’ve faced all over the world and they did it once again in England.

“It’s one of the best bowling attacks in the world and I can’t wait to see what else they do in future now that they have shown the world just how good they are.”

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