Dane van Niekerk believes her Proteas Women side are well-prepared ahead of their five-match ODI series against Australia, starting on Friday morning.
The first three matches of this first ever stand-alone series between the two countries will form part of the ICC Women’s Cricket Challenge, for which the hosts have already qualified. South Africa would have to beat the Southern Stars 3-0 in order to join recently qualified New Zealand and England in the list of direct qualifiers.
The top four teams from the Women’s Championship achieve immediate qualification while the bottom four will have to take part in the 10-team, ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 tournament in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 7-21 February in order to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
South Africa captain, Dané van Niekerk believes that her side has prepared well ahead of the series.
‘The preparations here in Canberra has gone really well,’ she said. ‘The girls look really good, they look ready for the challenge ahead. The bowlers and batters have prepared really well for the roles that we have set out specifically for them and I’m quite excited to see what they will do out in the middle come tomorrow.’
South Africa lost their warm up match against the Governor-General XI by two wickets in Sydney on Sunday, but Van Niekerk believes they got what they needed from that match.
‘It wasn’t a bad match at all, I think the score we put up was par, but not a winning score in the end but we took a lot of positives from that. Suné (Luus) put up her hand and scored a 50, that was great to see because she usually bats at number nine. The bowlers also put up their hands and showed us that they are ready. The match gave us a chance to see what needed rectifying before we play Australia.’
The five matches will be day-night games that South Africa do not have a lot of experience playing in, but van Niekerk is confident her side is up to the task. She said:
‘It’s going to be difficult, they are not the number one team in the world for nothing, but it’s nice to challenge ourselves against the best in the world. Day/night games are going to be a really nice challenge for us and it’s going to be a new experience for many of the girls in our team. At the end of the day, it’s all the experiences you go through that make you better so we are excited to take on the challenge and give them a good go.’
The first ODI will take place on Friday at 05:30 SAST.
Proteas women’s team to Australia
Dané van Niekerk (c) (Eastern Province), Dinesha Devnarain (KZN Coastal), Anneke Bosch (North West), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Masabata Klaas (Free State), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Chloe Tryon (KZN Coastal), Suné Luus (Northerns), Odine Kirsten (Northerns), Lizelle Lee (North West), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Moseline Daniels (Boland), Ayabonga Khaka (Border), Sinalo Jafta (North West).
Photo: Chris Rocco/Backpage Pix