Van Niekerk: We know we have to bring our A game

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

Cape Town - The Proteas go into their second fixture at the ICC Women’s World Cup against New Zealand quietly confident and wary of their opposition.

Speaking to members of the media at the County Ground in Derby on Tuesday, captain Dané van Niekerk said that she and the team are aware of how dangerous the White Ferns are and they are looking to play tomorrow’s match as though it were a knockout.

“We know that they are a very good side,” she commented. “From their batting to their bowling, we know they are a good all-round side, but as always we want to concentrate on what we do well as a side. We’ll obviously have our plans for their batters and bowlers, but at the end of the day, it’s about us and what we want to achieve and the brand of cricket that we want to play.”

New Zealand are coming off a very convincing, nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their opening match on Saturday, while South Africa came out on top in a thrilling match that saw them beat Pakistan by three wickets on Sunday.

While she is glad that her lower order batters were able to pull off a victory for the team, Van Niekerk wants to see a more clinical performance from her charges in the next match.

“If we can better our performance by 20 or 30 percent in the bowling department and even more in the batting department, we’ll definitely give them a run (for their money). I don’t want another situation where our basics are being forgotten, we need be more clinical if we want to beat the best teams in the world.”

The weather forecast for tomorrow’s fixture paints a gloomy picture with heavy rain predicted to fall throughout the day, but this does not worry the Proteas captain.

“I don’t think it’s going to worry us at all,” Van Niekerk continued. “The girls came here to prepare for a game against New Zealand and that’s what we’re gonna rock up to do tomorrow. We still have our game plans, we still have skills to execute. If the rain comes, we’ll have to work with it and just be mindful of the Duckworth/Lewis if and when it should come in effect.”

With the first match over and done with, Van Niekerk hopes that the opening game jitters are a thing of the past and that the team can heed the warnings that they experience in Leicester.

“On the last match, you always want to be clinical and I think we made it a lot harder on ourselves. There’s no excuse for the fact that that game got so close. That being said, momentum is momentum. Both teams are coming off good wins and at the end of the day, we just need to come out and play our best cricket and hopefully we’ll come out on the right side of the result.” 

Proteas ICC Women’s World Cup squad:

Dané van Niekerk (capt, Eastern Province), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal), Trisha Chetty (wk, Gauteng), Moseline Daniels (Boland), Nadine de Klerk (Northerns), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Ayabonga Khaka (Border), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Masabata Klaas (Free State), Lizelle Lee (North West), Sune Luus (Northerns), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Andrie Steyn (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province).

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