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We must start believing in ourselves, says SA women’s cricket captain Van Niekerk

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Van Niekerk was reacting to the team taking the ODI series 5-0 and then the T20 internationals 3-0, giving them an 8-0 scoreline

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South African women’s cricket team captain Dané van Niekerk said yesterday that despite the series whitewash over Bangladesh the team still needed to grow in confidence and believe in themselves.

Van Niekerk (pictured) was reacting to the team taking the ODI series 5-0 and then the T20 internationals 3-0, giving them an 8-0 scoreline.

“That’s the way we want to play cricket and that’s the way we want to win series. We haven’t done that before, and if we can make that a habit, winning is a habit, then we can go very far and be very successful,” said the captain.

“It’s a very important year for us. We are taking on England and then we have the T20 World Cup, so as a team we need to grow in confidence and we need to believe in ourselves. We have world-class players. We just have to start believing and show it against the top three in the world.”

“I’m a very proud captain at the moment,” said van Niekerk after South Africa won the rain-hit, nine-overs-a-side third game by 23 runs in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

Batting first, South Africa had Tazmin Brits top-scoring with 29 as they made 64/4 in a match reduced to nine overs each due to rain, and then they stopped Bangladesh on 41/6 with Ayabonga Khaka (3/10) and Marizanne Kapp (2/9) doing most of the damage.

“We didn’t think we’d play once we got here because it was raining heavily,” van Niekerk continued. “For the team to make a mental shift from 20 overs to nine overs was amazing.

“In our first innings, we were a bit short, to be honest. But with our bowling line-up, we know we can defend anything if we just execute our plans. The bowlers did brilliantly well. Aya, Kappie, Shebbie (Shabnim Ismail) – brilliant.”

For Khaka, it has been a good series. She picked up seven wickets in the four ODIs she played, including two three-fors, and then picked up four wickets in the three T20Is for the combined cost of just 56 runs.

“I’m so excited about it. There’s still a long way to go, I still need to work on my bowling. But I am very excited about it,” said Khaka, the Player of the Match.

“To be honest, I was scared today, but I thought let me just do my job, correct the mistakes I made yesterday and everything came right today. I didn’t bowl well yesterday so I just wanted to come out today and hit the wicket hard.”

ANA