Dane van Niekerk’s dominant Proteas Women are eager to seal the ODI series win when they take on Sri Lanka Women in the second ODI in Potchefstroom on Thursday.
Van Niekerk played a lead role in her side’s seven-run win in the first ODI, although the Proteas will be hoping to settle the series with a less nailbiting victory.
No 3 batter Lara Goodall has said that the team put in a lot of work in their preparation for this key match in the Proteas’ bid to move up in the ICC Women’s Championship log. They have taken note of the areas where they believe they fell short, and spent the last two days refining those skill sets.
‘The preparation’s been great,’ said Goodall at the end of the team’s training session, which was followed by heavy rainfall. ‘Luckily, this morning when we started training the sun was shining. Bowlers and batters did what they needed to do – a lot of the girls stayed and did a lot of extras, so a lot of hard work has been put in ahead of tomorrow’s game.
‘After the first game, our fielding was a big concern, we felt like we lacked there,’ she continued. ‘Also, when we were batting we felt like we were going a little bit too slow, so we were discussing and looking at a few more options in the middle, how to get those ones and those boundary options too. The last game was a little too close for comfort, tomorrow we want to make sure that it’s a convincing win.’
The 22-year-old was pleased to see her side capable of fighting to virtually the last ball for their first win, but said they want to finish strong in future and return more convincing victories.
‘We’ve spoken a lot about keeping calm under pressure with all of our coaches. At the end of the day, a win is a win. If it has to be scrappy, it has to be scrappy,’ she added. ‘You can win the World Cup by one run and you’ll still have won the World Cup. I feel like we haven’t been playing the way that we like, but we’re still getting over the line, which is a huge positive for us because in the past we would lose games like that.’
Goodall was not overly pleased with her own performance in the first match when she was bowled by Udeshika Prabodhani for 12 off 24 balls.
‘I’ve been working really hard with (Proteas assistant coach) Salieg Nackerdien and it’s been going really well. Obviously, Sri Lanka poses a massive challenge with the turning ball, so I’ve been working on that. They are a very good bowling side especially, they know how to squeeze a team and are very good at getting a team to bat where they want them to. Batting-wise they had a very good start in the first ODI, so we can’t underestimate them. They have good players, their captain (Chamari Aattapaththu) was really amazing and Shashikala Siriwardene did well,’ she added.
When asked what the team needs to do to give themselves the best chance of victory tomorrow, Goodall stressed that they need to take it a ball at a time.
‘The scoreboard goes back to zero tomorrow again. We’ll take it from there, and obviously with the rain we’ve had today, the conditions will play a little bit differently. So it’s about getting to the ground, assessing conditions quickly and playing accordingly.’
The match will start at 10am at Senwes Park Cricket Stadium and entrance is free of charge.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images