Home Sport Cricket Dané and the girls can hold their heads high

Dané and the girls can hold their heads high

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“It was our game to win and they came back and that takes experience.”

The emergence of shining young talents like Laura Wolfvaardt and Nadine de Klerk will certainly help to ease the pain the Proteas felt at losing the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final to Australia yesterday.

Dané Van Niekerk and her team will not feature in the showpiece on Sunday at the MCG where 90 000 people are looking to set a new world record for the most spectators at a women’s sporting event, but they can be proud of their achievements in Australia this past month.

They pushed the defending champions to the very brink yesterday, ultimately losing by just runs on the Duckworth Lewis method.

Their attitude towards playing the game was always positive, despite knowing that a washed out result would see them through to their first-ever final.

As Van Niekerk said in the aftermath “we wanted to play the best and beat the best”. Unfortunately it did not materialize with Australia’s experience and game management in knockout matches proving to be difference on a drama-filled night at the SCG.

“I thought tonight was the night. But it wasn’t meant to be,” Van Niekerk said.

“Their plans were spot on. They are the No 1 team in the world and they showed it.

“It was our game to win and they came back and that takes experience.”

South Africa certainly had their moments when they put their hosts under real pressure. With the ball, young De Klerk put in a virtuoso performance. Having only been notified of her call up on the morning of the semi-final after a late call was made not to risk experienced all-rounder Marizanne Kapp due to health reasons, De Klerk delivered a spell of supreme quality in the most pressurized of circumstances.

Australia’s openers Allyssa Healy and Beth Mooney had threatened to take the game away from the Proteas early on, but De Klerk put a check on the run-rate while picking up crucial wickets to finish with 3/19. It helped restrict the Aussies to just 134/5 in their allotted 20 overs.

“Lots of credit must go to Nadine. She had a plan. And its always nice when a bowler comes to you with a plan.

“What a standout performance with the ball. She put up her hand up incredibly well. It shows the quality we have in depth,” Van Niekerk said.

Wolfvaardt followed her breakthrough T20 innings against Pakistan in the final round-robin match with another sparkling display of her talents.

The 20-year-old possesses a beautiful cover drive and has now found a way to adapt her elegant style to the demands of T20 cricket. Almost single-handedly she hauled South Africa from despair to what would have been a historic victory.

Crucially, at no stage did Wolfvaardt look frazzled by the escalating run-rate that pushed the 13-run mark at one stage, and simply continued to trust her game plan by playing good cricket shots.

“She is a smart kid and she loves the game of cricket. The fact that she gave up her medicine (degree) to play cricket says a lot. She wanted to be out there.

“She actually apologised for not getting the last runs. I was like ‘you couldn’t do any more’.”