CAPE TOWN – Without wanting to get overly enthusiastic with the Proteas Women’s team’s performances in India, but they are certainly putting the building blocks in place on the path to becoming a champion team.
Hilton Moreeng’s side are starting to regularly win the close matches – like Sunday’s tense 2nd T20I that went down to the last ball.
Getting over the line when 19 runs were required off the final 10 balls will only further enhance the burgeoning confidence within the team.
Furthermore, they are also developing a ruthless streak that all champion teams possess: The ability to keep the opposition pinned to the floor when they have them down.
And that’s why they are not content with just having won their first-ever T20I series in India – in addition to the ODI series – but now want to complete a clean sweep in the final match of the tour on Tuesday in Lucknow.
“Our confidence levels are where we want them to be. The girls are backing themselves and playing fearless cricket and in T20s, that’s what you want. I think that’s good for South Africa cricket’s future, “ captain Sune Luus said.
“There’s a chance for us to make it 3-0 and that will be even bigger than a series win.”
Furthermore, the team has proved it is not reliant on certain inviduals to win matches any longer. For both the past two ODI and T20I series they have been without regular skipper Dané van Niekerk and vice-captain Chloe Tryon while coach Hilton Moreeng has also rested senior players to give a couple of youngsters an opportunity on the big stage.
They have not disappointed and instead only grown in confidence and maturity. There is now healthy competition within the squad which will only raise the performance levels even further.
“It’s so good for our future,” Luus said. “We know that if on the day we can’t play Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail or Lizelle Lee, there are players coming in and we back them, they back themselves.”
Proteas batter Laura Wolvaardt, who kept her calm during those frenetic final moments, has also led the team on this tour when Luus was injured.
She too appreciates the value of the growing leadership core within the team.
“In the past, that was one of the gaps between us and the big nations – if we had Dane missing the tour, we would do badly,” Wolvaardt said.
“Now there is some healthy competition going forward and we are raising the bar for each other. This is also the first time in a long time we are all feeling it (confidence) together. We are starting to click together and performances are coming from every player. If we can ride this wave, that would be awesome.”
The final ODI will start at 3:30pm SA time on Tuesday.