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Cricket | South Africa Women

Dané van Niekerk © Gallo Images

Van Niekerk pleased with young talent in national team

Proteas Women captain Dané van Niekerk was delighted by the way the junior players shone through during the T20 international series against Sri Lanka that concluded on Wednesday, saying it was a wake-up call for some of the seniors in the fast-evolving national team.

South Africa wrapped up a 3-0 whitewash of the tourists with a comfortable 39-run victory at SuperSport Park to go with their wins by seven and two wickets respectively in the previous two matches.

The relatively inexperienced Tazmin Brits and Lara Goodall were among the top five run-getters behind leading batter Van Niekerk, while Nadine de Klerk showed her worth with the ball.

“You have to breed new blood and you have to give them opportunities to flourish,” the skipper said. “There were some tough decisions (made regarding selection), but these players that came in really picked up their hands enough to get into the set-up.

“They’ve now come out and shown the country that they deserve to be in the South African team. It was really good, and it makes me proud as the captain. Now it also gives us momentum going into the ODIs as well.”

Van Niekerk also admitted that the pool of national players was now widening due to the impressive performances of the youngsters that entered the fold. She added that it would mean that no player could take their place for granted in the future.

“I think the way the juniors came in and performed in the side is also a massive message for the seniors,” the skipper explained. “You can’t take your place for granted anymore because the amount of talent coming through is huge. And that creates healthy competition within the side.”

Van Niekerk top-scored in the last game as the Proteas posted a series-high total of 163 for five in Centurion, with Goodall (35) and Brits (36) also contributing.

Sri Lanka were then restricted to 124 for eight thanks to De Klerk’s brilliant 3-27 as well excellent showings by Shabnim Ismail (2-11) and Marizanne Kapp (1-3).

“We always said 150 plus will be a really good score, especially with our bowling line-up,” Van Niekerk concluded. “SuperSport Park generally helps pace bowlers, so I knew that Kappie (Marizanne Kapp) and Shabnim (Ismail) would zing it past them and obviously sub-continent teams aren’t as comfortable with pace swinging past you.

“Before that the momentum was great for us with the bat, the way everyone came in and kept going was excellent and helped put us in a good position.”

The South Africans now take on their Sri Lankan counterparts in a three-match ICC Women’s Championship One-Day International Series starting on Monday.


Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Saarah Smith (Western Province), Tumi Sekhukhune (North West), Zintle Mali (Border), Faye Tunnicliffe (wicketkeeper, Boland), Masabata Klaas (North West), Andrie Steyn (Western Province).


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