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‘Incredible’ to whitewash New Zealand

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“We set out to win the series, but to get a whitewash against New Zealand in New Zealand makes me very proud of the team. All the planning and hard work has paid off.”

South Africa qualified for the 2021 Women’s World Cup with their 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand yesterday, taking all of the pressure off their shoulders for the series against Australia in March.

In addition, Dané van Niekerk & Co have given Cricket SA some extra work, for the series win also means that instead of heading to a qualifying tournament in Bangladesh later in the year, CSA will need to find the team some series to play to help their preparation for the World Cup, which will also take place in New Zealand in February 2021.

It was certainly an uplifting series for the players and coaching staff, with head coach Hilton Moreeng under serious pressure after a series of bad performances in the last 12 months.

“It’s incredible,” Van Niekerk said of the 3-0 series win, which secured her team six crucial points for the ICC Women’s Championship that lifted them to third on the standings and most importantly secured a spot at the Women’s World Cup without the need to play in the qualifying competition.

“We set out to win the series, but to get a whitewash against New Zealand in New Zealand makes me very proud of the team. All the planning and hard work has paid off.”

SA dominated all three matches; openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt shared a partnership of 163 as the Proteas chased 260 in the first match and in the last two, the bowlers piled the pressure on the Kiwis dismissing them for 115 and 149 respectively.

That final match in Hamilton saw Suné Luus became the first women’s player to claim six wickets in a game for the second time in an ODI, with her 6/45 as she ran through New Zealand’s lower and middle order with her leg-spin. “I was just happy the skipper gave me another over after I went for 17 in my first two overs,” Luus said.

Lee was named player of the series, finishing as the top run scorer with an aggregate of 157, that included an agonising 99 in the first match.

Both teams will turn their attention to the T20 format now, with a five-match series that ostensibly acts as preparation for the World T20 that takes place in Australia next month.

“It will be a very tough series, but we want to make sure all the combinations are ready for the World Cup,” said Van Niekerk.

The first T20 international will be played in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.