Despite back-to-back white ball losses, Proteas Women coach Hilton Moreeng believes the team is far from hitting the panic button thanks to their bowling strength.
‘There were a lot of positives to take away [from the first T20I defeat] as far as the first half of the game was concerned,’ said Moreeng. ‘The way that we bowled and fielded, we were very happy with, it’s something that we can definitely build on. The way that the youngsters came in on a game like that and enjoyed themselves, the kind of energy they brought to the team and went about the match we were also very happy with. There’s a lot that we’ve addressed as a squad, I think we can expect a lot from the players in the second game.
‘It’s refreshing when you look at the depth of our bowling attack,’ added Moreeng. ‘We have a lot of talented players coming through. There are players that want to play and we can see what representing their country means to them. The emotion that was on the youngsters’ faces when they get their caps, it told a story and you can see that they want to stay here. It’s also very encouraging. The options are growing, the youngsters are pushing hard for positions which puts us as a country in a healthy space.’
While there is a lot of room for improvement, he took the time to praise players who have taken the opportunities they have received to grow their personal game and make positive contributions towards to the team’s objectives.
‘There’s always work to be done, especially after consecutive losses but we’re still a long way away from running for the panic button,’ he continued. ‘I think one of our major positives from the last tour we played in England is the much-improved fielding. We’ve got energetic players who can move really fast and we needed to capitalise on that and use it to our advantage. In this format, fielding is going to be one of the major keys to winning games and we’ve made big inroads in that area.
‘It’s been particularly pleasing to see Masabata Klaas coming into her own and taking ownership of the opening bowler role alongside Marizanne Kapp. That’s the kind of growth we’re looking for from players at this level. Tumi Sekhukhune has taken to international cricket very well and I’m looking forward to seeing what more she can do and Saarah Smith had a really good T20 debut, announcing herself on the world stage. All of the youngsters, in fact, have been like sponges, absorbing information and showing a lot of promise when given the opportunity.
‘We just need the last aspect, which is our batting, to kick on. If that unit starts firing the way that we know they can, this could be one of the most difficult teams to play against.’
The series will be streamed live at www.windiescricket.com. Tomorrow’s match will start at 7pm local time (1am SAST) with updates available on Cricket South Africa’s social media platforms on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cricketsouthafrica) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/officialcsa).
Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province)
Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal)
Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province)
Lizelle Lee (North West)
Suné Luus (Northerns)
Mignon du Preez (Northerns)
Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province)
Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng)
Masabata Klaas (North West)
Zintle Mali (Border)
Faye Tunnicliffe (Boland)
Robyn Searle (Gauteng)
Tumi Sekhukhune (Easterns)
Saarah Smith (Western Province).
Friday, 28 September: 2nd T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Sunday, 30 September: 3rd T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Wednesday, 03 October: 4th T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Saturday, 06 October: 5th T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Photo: Cricket South Africa (Facebook)