Dane van Niekerk lamented a poor bowling display, but also praised the fight shown by the batters after the Proteas’ 68-run loss to England on Wednesday.
The Proteas attack came back down to earth with a thud after the highs of bowling West Indies out for 48. They were put to the sword during a batting masterclass from Tammy Beaumont (148) and Sarah Taylor (147), which saw the pair post a record 275-run partnership.
‘It’s difficult if you had a great day like the other day [against West Indies] and then you have a day like today, but I think we just didn’t adapt quick enough. It wasn’t the green-tinged wicket that moves that we like and it took us too long to adapt and they [Beaumont and Taylor] were well in their partnership and they made us pay,’ Van Niekerk said.
The skipper feels there was a failure to hit good areas consistently, which cost the visitors dearly.
‘It’s one of those days where I think they batted really well and they made us pay when we missed our lines and lengths and it shows you that the margins for error in women’s cricket these days are very small, so you can’t get away with bad bowling and teams like England will make you pay,’ remarked the skipper.
Despite the daunting target which lay ahead of them, Van Niekerk praised the fight shown by the Proteas batters during their spirited chase.
‘I called the girls [after the England innings] and said that 370 is a long way, I don’t think we’ve ever had that and I just said to them it’s how we go about it.
‘We can either just, you know, accept defeat or we can go out there with character and give our best shot and I’m really proud of the way the girls stood up. 370 was a tough ask, but to get to 305 and still not batting at our best, some of our top batters hadn’t really fired, so I’m really proud of the girls and I think they showed character,’ she said.
Van Niekerk says the team must execute their plans better against India in Leicester, which was also the site of the team’s two victories in the tournament thus far.
‘We are going back to Leicester, so obviously it’s a lot different condition-wise, so we’ll just go back to what we know from that field and try to hit our lengths. I just think being a bit more consistent and having a plan and executing your plan [is important],’ Van Niekerk commented.
The all-rounder is relishing the prospect of facing the unbeaten India side and hinted that the Proteas may cause an upset if the bowlers bounce back.
‘I’m excited to take them on. We know what to expect and we obviously have our plans from the South African series, and then the qualifiers as well, so we’ll hopefully get back to the drawing-board and get back to the bowlers firing again, I need them to fire,’ she concluded.
The Proteas will be seeking their third win of the campaign when they face India on Saturday.