Dane van Niekerk praised the work of the Proteas after they sealed their first semi-final berth at the World Cup in 17 years.
The Proteas recorded their fourth win of the campaign after skittling Sr Lanka for a modest 101. The batters were clinical in chasing the total, winning by eight wickets to secure a coveted knockout spot.
‘I can get used to this, it shows you the hard work that the girls have put in and it’s good to sit here and that their hard work is paying off,’ Van Niekerk said at the post-match press conference.
The skipper was coy on her feat of topping the wicket charts with 13 scalps, preferring to give credit to the seamers in the attack. She was also the pick of the Proteas bowlers, finishing with figures of 4-24.
‘My pace bowlers are making my job a lot easier because they are putting so much pressure on the top order and middle order of the countries we’ve played. I just kind of come in and buy wickets,’ remarked the leg-spinner.
Van Niekerk said that the key to her success has been good lines and lengths, though she is searching for greater consistency despite taking three four-wicket hauls.
‘I like to find my line and lengths. I’m not hitting them as consistently, but I think when I hit them it is working. I need to find a way to bowl my best balls as much as possible with the least amount of bowling I’ve been doing,’ she added.
With a semi-final place confirmed with a game to spare, Van Niekerk hinted at the possibility of resting opening bowlers Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp in the final round-robin clash with Australia.
‘Yeah, that’s always on the cards [resting Ismail or Kapp], we know how heavy their workloads are and I’m a big believer that you have to rest your pace bowlers, so we’ll see how it goes and obviously selectors and management will make that decision,’ Van Niekerk said.
The skipper highlighted a good performance from her side in the middle overs against Australia as crucial to their prospects of victory.
‘I think we just need to tighten up our middle overs against them. We generally start very well against them, get two or three wickets upfront which is crucial, we know how good their top order is, and then we kind of let it go in the middle.
‘We’ll definitely sit and work out plans of how we can utilise the middle overs a lot better, because they bat deep,’ she commented.
The Proteas take on Australia at Taunton on Sunday.