Van Niekerk hails Proteas character

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

Cape Town - Despite losing their Women's World Cup game against England, Proteas skipper Dane van Niekerk lauded her side for their efforts.

The Proteas lost their first game of the tournament falling short by 68 runs to England at the County Ground in Bristol on Wednesday.

England batters Tammy Beaumont (148) and skipper Sarah Taylor (147) shared England's highest-run partnership in a One-Day International (ODI) when they put together 275 for the second wicket.

The Proteas were sent with a tough task, chasing down 373 in their 50 overs.

"It took us too long to adapt to the conditions and that partnership (between Taylor and Beaumont) from England made us pay," Van Niekerk told reporters on Wednesday.

"They were well into their partnership and seeing the ball as if it were a volley ball...

"I told the girls (at the innings break) that we can either accept defeat or we can go out there with character and give our best shot. I'm really proud of the girls with the way they stood up considering it was a tough ask."

South African openers Lizelle Lee (72) and Laura Wolvaardt (67) got the innings off to a strong start with their 128-run stand, but the total was too far for the Proteas to take down the hosts.

South Africa eventually ended on 305/9 in their 50 overs - the highest score batting second in women's ODI cricket.

Van Niekerk praised her team's batting performance and said there were plenty of positives to take out of the game.

"305 is great against a team like England, which just shows you the nature of the track. I'm very happy and we can take a lot of positives out of it," said Van Niekerk.

"We thought 280 or 300 was a really good score to chase on a wicket like this. But we were a bit far away from their total."

Van Niekerk admitted that their bowlers did not execute their plans, but was certain that this could fuel them for their next game.

"We didn't bowl to our plans. They really made us pay when we missed our lines and lengths. The margins of error in women's cricket is very small," she said.

"We are a good bowling side. It doesn't mean their skills gone away in one day and that West Indies was a fluke. All teams in the world have days like today (Wednesday) and unfortunately it wasn't ours.

"I'm sure our bowlers will come firing in stronger, I'm excited to see how they will bounce back."

The Proteas next task will be facing India on Saturday, July 8.

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South Africa 179/6
England 183/5
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