Dane van Niekerk said one of South Africa’s poorest performances in the field was the main contributor to the 59-run defeat to Australia on Saturday.
The Proteas bowlers kept Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney in check for the first five overs, in which only 15 runs were scored.
Van Niekerk said that the sixth over saw a momentum shift, however, which ultimately contributed to Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton striking a 114-run opening stand.
‘I think we started really well. I think Marizanne [Kapp] and Shiby [Shabnim Ismail] held them, they didn’t run away with it and I think only in the sixth over the momentum changed,’ Van Niekerk said at the post-match press conference.
Van Niekerk said poor lines and lengths from change-bowlers Ayabonga Khaka and Mosaline Daniels allowed the Aussies to begin dictating terms.
‘We always knew that with a wicket like this it was not going to swing and nip and all of those nice things, but again I was proud of the way we started. We always speak about our change-bowlers, they didn’t really hit their lines and lengths and obviously the pressure came to us,’ she said.
Van Niekerk did say, however, that positives could be found in Luus’s five-for as well as Laura Wolvaardt’s 71 at the top of the order.
‘The fact that Sunetjie [Sune Luus] got a five-for and that Laura [Wolvaardt] got a fifty are positives for me, but we really do have to go back to the drawingboard.
The fielders did not provide much support for the bowlers, which allowed Australia to post 269-8.
‘I think our fielding was disappointing, it was probably one of the poorest performances we’ve had on the field today, so that was disappointing, it [the ball] went straight through our legs, small things like this can cost you a semi-final,’ she said.
The Proteas’ chase hung in the balance as they reached 150 in 34 overs. The controversial run-out decision of Marizanne Kapp, who was adjudged short of her ground by the umpire, precipitated the loss of four wickets for 22 runs, which ultimately derailed the Proteas’ chase.
‘I don’t know what to say, when I checked it from our area, her hands were in before the ball hit the stumps, and that was a game-changing moment because she was hitting it really well,’ commented Van Niekerk.
Van Niekerk said that the absence of a 3rd umpire is something that needs to change in the women’s game, but that she understood the difficult position of the on-field umpire.
‘I think something could have changed there, but again the umpire is human and he does not have the luxury of TV, so that’s why it’s very important to have that,’ remarked the all-rounder.
The skipper said that despite the loss, the side is relishing the challenge of facing England in the semi-finals.
I don’t think there is any pressure on us at all, I don’t think people even thought we’d be here [ in the semi-finals], so in that sense I’m very proud of the girls.
‘It’s the first semi-final since 2000, so we’re really excited to be in this position and the girls are really excited for the challenge ahead,’ Van Niekerk said.
The Proteas face England in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
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