In what is a crunch match for the Proteas Women, assistant coach Salieg Nackerdien believes the team must back themselves to change a few aspects of their game and get back into the series ahead of the fourth Women’s T20 International against Pakistan in Benoni on Wednesday.
The encounter serves as an opportunity for South Africa to level the series following their four-wicket loss in the third T20 in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend, which saw the touring side take a 2-1 lead. The fifth and final T20 will take place at the same venue on Thursday, 23 May.
Having come back from losing the opening match, Nackerdien says the team needs to channel their belief in order to do the same in tomorrow’s clash.
‘We just have to back ourselves’ the coach commented during the pre-match preparations. ‘That belief system for me is very important. If you don’t have that belief system and we can’t manage a loss, then we are going to be in trouble. We need to make sure we do that 360-degree turnaround again, to get us back into the series and to try and win the series. The main purpose for tomorrow is to win the game and do it properly,’ he added.
In the third T20 match, South Africa posted their highest total of the series thus far, recording 138-3, thanks to a stunning contribution of 70 not out off 61 balls from opener Tazmin Brits, and a tidy knock of 36 off 35 balls by Nadine de Klerk. This followed impressive half-centuries from Marizanne Kapp (56*) and Lizelle Lee (56) in the second T20, which the Proteas won comfortably by eight wickets.
Nackerdien was pleased with what he saw in Pietermaritzburg, but has highlighted a few other areas that can be improved, saying: ‘We have to keep the momentum from the last game. Partnerships are going to be key up front and we obviously want to utilise the power play better. We were a bit stuck in that power play [in the last game] because we lost early wickets, but we recovered nicely in terms of getting a competitive score.
‘Now it is all about basics and we need to make sure we do our running between the wickets a bit better, rotation of strike and the partnership column can be better too. If we can get another partnership of 70 or 80, or maybe even a 100, that will give us good momentum in the game, but we still need to apply the basics.’ he continued.
Turning to the two other disciplines, Nackerdien challenged his team to improve their intensity in the field and linked that to the bowlers’ plans with their areas as well as setting their individual field placings.
‘The intensity needs to be spot on for 20 overs and we need to make sure we apply ourselves properly and be on top of the game, all the time,’ he said. ‘You have to enjoy fielding, otherwise the game can slip away from you very quickly.
‘Our line and lengths are important. We were bowling too much on both sides of the wicket and our field placing was also not up to scratch and then the execution of it. You can’t bowl both sides of the wicket and defend both sides, all the time. We must make sure we hit our sweepers where we need them to hit us, but not where they want to hit us.
‘So, it is important for all our bowlers to have their game plans and skills in order tomorrow and execute properly,’ Nackerdien concluded.
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