Monday, October 3, 2022

ICC: South Africa rally behind under-fire batters

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South Africa’s depleted batting line-up can still thrive at ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, according to head coach Hilton Moreeng.

The Proteas squeaked to a 32-run victory over tournament first-timers Bangladesh in Dunedin despite a sub-par performance with the bat.

Top-order stars Tazmin Brits and Lara Goodall looked out of nick and a total of 207 was enough but some 30 or 40 below a good score.

With Dane van Niekerk ruled out of the event through injury and Lizelle Lee arriving in New Zealand late, Moreeng admits his side have been left scratching their heads.

“I’m not concerned, more frustrated because we know what the players who find themselves in this position are capable of,” he said.

“There are games when it’s gone well, we’ve just been inconsistent. We have identified it as an area we need to work on as a team and we’re trying to improve.

“We had nerves in the opening match and the important thing is to make sure you get the job done on the day.

“We know these players are capable of a lot more and they also know. As we go along in the World Cup, it will start improving and people will see what they can do.”

Powerful opener Lee’s wife Tanja Cronje gave birth to their son on February 22, his late arrival delaying her departure to the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.

Lee is still serving mandatory pre-tournament quarantine but, according to Moreeng, does have a chance of featuring in their next game against Pakistan in Tauranga on Friday.

“Lizelle has been training all the time she has been at home with family,” said Moreeng.

“We’ll assess how she goes in the week. Knowing the player she is, she’s a very competitive cricketer and she’ll want to jump back into it.

“Once she’s passed through medical and we know she is where she needs to be in terms of sharpness and fitness, she should be considered for the next game.”

Bangladesh came close to springing an almighty surprise in their very first ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup appearance.

They threatened to chase down the target right until the 45th over thanks to a superb seventh-wicket stand of 53 between captain Nigar Sultana Joty and Ritu Moni.

Clearly, Joty and her team sensed opportunity when the Proteas struggled with the bat early on.

“Our bowlers made a good start and it felt like we had a chance,” she said.

“We restricted South Africa to a decent total, and we thought that if we could execute our batting plan, the result could be different.

“There are a lot of positives and our openers got off to an excellent start. With the experience in the team, we know we can execute our game plan in the next matches.”

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