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Senior cricket teams in rude health

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The Proteas were without the injured Kagiso Rabada, while Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen were rested

ALL SOUTH African sports fans would have loved it if yesterday, on International Women’s Day, the ­Proteas were contesting the final of the T20 Women’s World Cup.

Just imagine if Dane van Niekerk had been able to lift the trophy in front of 86000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket ground

Yet there is no doubt whatsoever that Van Niekerk and her team did us all proud. They were unbeaten in the round-robin stage of the tournament, including significant victories over England and Pakistan.

They pushed Australia every inch of the way in the semi-final, and could well have won if their target had not been made more difficult by the rain.

Best of all, the emergence of ­brilliant young talent like Laura Wolvaardt, Sune Loos and Nonkululeko Mlaba means the Proteas will hopefully be able to put together a blend of experience and youth for the 2022 World Cup on home soil.

Meanwhile, the Proteas men’s side also has every reason to puff their chests out today. After a torrid time against England, the Proteas demolished the old enemy, Australia, 3-0 in the ODI series that ended in Potchefstroom yesterday.

The Proteas were without the injured Kagiso Rabada, while Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen were rested.

But no matter, because players like Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan, Kyle Verreynne and Lungi Ngidi stepped up to the plate.

Klaasen and Malan both scored cracking centuries, while Ngidi caused the Aussies all sorts of problems with his pace bowling.

In sport, though, you are only as good as your last game, and this week a new challenge awaits Proteas coach Mark Boucher in the shape of an ODI and T20 series against India.

Virat Kohli and his team are hurting from an unexpected series defeat to New Zealand, and they are going to be in a difficult mood.

In the meantime, though, both the senior men’s and women’s teams are in a very good place.

Long may it continue.