Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng believes the side has the potential to reach the top of the world rankings.
The Proteas entered the Women’s World Cup under the radar as the No 6-ranked team in the world. Convincing wins over West Indies and India soon had the public believing that they had an outside shot of going all the way.
Captain Dane van Niekerk, who topped the wicket-taking charts with 15 scalps from seven games at an incredible average of 10.00, says that although their performance belied their ranking, it should not have come as a surprise.
‘I don’t feel like we punched above our weight because the talent we have in this team is world-class, so if we have to go player for player it was actually scary, and I said in the post-match presser “I don’t think our girls realise what they did at the World Cup,”‘ said Van Niekerk.
The skipper said that victories over the likes of India, and running hosts England close in the semi-finals, losing with just two balls remaining, give the side confidence that a World Cup trophy is not far off.
‘I think the highlight for me is for the girls to realise that we can beat the best in the world, and it’s going to be very soon that we’re going to lift the trophy.’
Moreeng meanwhile, praised the fearless approach of his side.
‘They are quality cricketers and they always believed that when they went on to the field representing their country they had to win the game. None of them have any doubt when they are bowling or batting or whatever skill they are executing that the other players are better than them,’ said Moreeng.
He went on to say that with such a young squad at their disposal, the Proteas have the potential to become world-beaters.
‘The future is very bright; 60% of the squad is under 22 years old, so for us where we are going and the squad we’ve assembled is very good. It’s a team that can push for the top two in the world in the near future.’
A vital part of the Proteas success at the World Cup was the foundation laid by opening batters Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt. The pair scored 269 and 324 runs respectively, something which Wolvaardt said was needed, coming into the tournament.
‘I think the top-three needed to perform this World Cup to back our bowlers because we can’t rely too much on our bowlers in a tournament like this,’ she said.
Of her own performance, Wolvaardt said a single-minded approach helped her achieve a staggering average of 64.80 thanks to four half-centuries and a top score of 71.
‘I didn’t try to think about the pressure of the World Cup too much, I was just playing the situation and focusing on what I needed to do for the team, and it worked out.’
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