JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s women’s team made the short hop across ‘the ditch’ from New Zealand to Australia on Thursday where they will fine tune game plans ahead of the T20 World Cup that starts next Friday.
Dane van Niekerk’s side open their campaign in that competition next Sunday in Perth against England. In a week’s time defending champions Australia play India in the tournament opener in Sydney.
The Proteas got largely what they wanted out of the tour to New Zealand. Most importantly was the 3-0 win in the One-Day series which secured automatic qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup that will be held in New Zealand.
The subsequent T20 series didn’t go so well as far as results were concerned. The Kiwis triumphed 3-1 in the series after the last match in Dunedin was washed out on Thursday. South Africa’s head coach Hilton Moreeng was not too perturbed by those results despite some below par batting which saw his side score less than 120 on three occasions, two of those while batting first.
“Overall, we had a very successful tour,” said Moreeng. “Obviously winning the One-Dayers was the highlight and making sure we qualified for the World Cup. That was really the result of a lot of preparation and especially the time we spent acclimatising to conditions.
“You could see that in the way we batted. We have talked about it often, that we need to be consistent with the bat. Our bowlers usually carry the load, but they got a lot of support from the batters this time.”
That was less the case in the T20s, but South Africa weren’t as focussed on the series result as getting game time for the players before the World Cup. “It was important for us to give everyone in the squad an opportunity to play, to see combinations for the World Cup, and not lose sight of that as a team,” said Moreeng.
There was a bit of experimenting with the batting line-up, especially the top order, where Nadine de Klerk played the first two games at no.3, Marizanne Kapp batted there on one occasion and then Sune Luus went into that spot in the fourth match.
One other noteworthy aspect of the batting was that frontline wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty played all four matches, freeing up Lizelle Lee to focus on opening the batting.
Whether that continues in Australia remains to be seen. Lee didn’t have a good series scoring 62 runs in four innings and Moreeng will hope she and her opening partner Laura Wolvaardt, who scored 64 runs in the series can find some form in the two warm-up matches, both of which will be played in Adelaide – the first Sunday against Sri Lanka and then on Tuesday against Australia – before they head to Perth.