Zaahier Adams looks at five keys that helped the South Africans unlock impressive performances on the subcontinent.
The Proteas Women’s team secured a historic 4-1 series victory in Lucknow on Wednesday. Zaahier Adams looks at five keys that helped the South Africans unlock impressive performances on the subcontinent.
The Proteas were simply better prepared than their hosts.
It was not just the fact that they had played a competitive series against Pakistan prior to arriving in India and their hosts had not played any cricket since the lockdown back in March 2019.
Coach Hilton Moreeng’s squad had undergone numerous training camps during lockdown with the assistance of specialists to help up-skill the players.
This was particularly beneficial to the players that are usually on the fringes of the national team as they don’t necessarily always have access to such quality coaching and conditioning expertise.
Good plans against spin
This was a result of their preparation and having faced Pakistan in unfamiliar conditions in Durban.
It resulted in the much-vaunted Indian spin contingent averaging 53.15 per 13 South African wickets claimed in the series – their worst in a women’s one-day international series/tournament in which they bowled 100 or more overs. Their strike-rate was even worse at 70.7.
The major difference in South Africa’s ability to counter the spin threat was how they rotated the strike much better and never allowed the Indian spinners to settle by utilising an aggressive approach by going down the pitch to meet the ball much more often.
Ability to strike with the new ball
This has always been a strength of the team due to the brilliance of Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp and the duo maintained the status quo throughout the series.
The pair never allowed the Indians the comfort of a good start and picked up a wicket within the first six overs of each match.
This immediately put India on the back foot with promising opener Jemimah Rodrigues even being dropped midway through the series.
Increased squad depth
There is no doubt that the superstars like Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Ismail and Kapp still make sterling contributions to the team’s success, but the India tour provided an opportunity for the lesser names within the squad to stamp their authority on proceedings.
Lara Goodall and Anneka Bosch have been around the national team for a while now, with Goodall, in particular, having been in and out over the last couple of years.
But the talented Western Province left-hander finally fulfilled her potential in India with a couple of sparkling knocks.
Equally, Bosch’s aggression in the middle-order was a pleasure to watch.
Resurgence of Mignon du Preez
The Proteas’ highest ever run-scorer is a pillar of the women’s game in South Africa, but there was a growing concern that Du Preez may be past her best due to her performances of the last few years that had previously seen her score just two half-centuries in 26 ODIs.
But it’s almost as if the 31-year-old had a new lease of life on this India tour with successive fifties in the last two matches. Her innings in the fourth ODI to seal the series was particularly special.