Wednesday, July 17, 2024

CSA: Khaka welcomes the challenge of leading Proteas women bowling attack ahead of final ODI

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Photo Credit: Lions Cricket

Experienced fast bowler Ayabonga Khaka is relishing the opportunity of leading the Proteas Women’s bowling attack in the 50-over format ahead of her team’s third ICC Women’s Championship (2022-25) One-Day International (ODI) against India at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. 

The final ODI between the two nations will begin at 13h30 local time (10h00 SAST) with the contest broadcast live on SuperSport Grandstand (Ch. 201).

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Khaka expressed her excitement about being the leading protagonist with the ball for her country and the challenges it brings, in the absence of the retired Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp who is currently building up her bowling workload following a minor back injury. 

“It’s a new role for me. I’ve been (bowling first change) for the team for so long. Opening the bowling is a new role and I am trying to figure it out. We always had a great bowling unit, everyone picked up their hand. It’s always nice to play with people like that. 

“We know each other as a group. I’m just enjoying the moment. It’s challenging for me, but I’m embracing it,” the 31-year-old noted. 

In the ongoing ODI series against India, Khaka has led the charge for her country, recording impressive figures of three for 47 in her 10 overs in the first encounter before following that up with a disciplined return of 0/51 in the second match, alongside a South African seam attack featuring Masabata Klaas, Nadine de Klerk and Annerie Dercksen. 

With the Proteas bowling first in both encounters, the fast bowling group has managed to get the visitors to positive starts against the Indian top-order, restricting the hosts to 99/5 in the first ODI before conceding just 28 runs in the powerplay in the second outing. 

Commenting on her burgeoning partnership with fellow opening partner Klaas and the rest of the attack, the DP World Lions fast bowler said: “We’re just sticking to our plans. It’s all about executing and sticking to our plans more than anything. I think we’ve been doing a great job for the team, and we just stick to what we know.” 

Despite South Africa losing both matches against India by 143 runs and four runs respectively, Khaka emphasized the importance of the third ODI in the context of the ICC Women’s Championship qualification campaign for the 2025 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. 

“Tomorrow is also important for us. It’s all about the points. We’ll take the game as it comes. I think we’ll play two games on the same pitch, so it’s all about us going there and executing whatever that we do as a team.”

Reflecting on the learnings from the narrow four-run defeat in the second ODI, Khaka pointed out the key areas for improvement. “It was a great game but we didn’t win. I think with the bowling as well, the bowling unit gave away a lot in the last 10 overs and we took the lessons out of that. And also with the batting, maybe we could have done better.”

When asked about the fielding side of the game, Khaka also acknowledged the ongoing efforts to enhance their performance in the field, stating, “I think everyone is working hard on that. Some days it comes off, some days it doesn’t come off but we’ll keep on working hard and making sure that we execute.”

Proteas Women ODI and Test Squad – Outbound Tour to India (16 June – 09 July) 

Laura Wolvaardt (Captain) (Fidelity Titans), Anneke Bosch (Fidelity Titans), Tazmin Brits (DP World LIons), Nadine de Klerk (World Sports Betting Western Province), *Annerie Dercksen (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), *Mieke de Ridder (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Sinalo Jafta (DP World Lions), Marizanne Kapp (World Sports Betting Western Province), Ayabonga Khaka (DP World Lions) (ODI Squad Only), Masabata Klaas (Fidelity Titans), Suné Luus (Fidelity Titans), *Eliz-Mari Marx (Fidelity Titans), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Tumi Sekhukhune (DP World Lions), *Nondumiso Shangase (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), ⁠Delmi Tucker (World Sports Betting Western Province) 

* Uncapped Test player

Fixtures – Proteas Women’s Outbound Tour to India (16 June – 09 July)

ICC Women’s Championship One-Day International Series:

Sunday, 23 June @ 10h00 – 3rd IWC ODI: India vs South Africa (M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru)

One-off Test:

Friday, 28 June – Monday, 01 July @ 06h00: India vs South Africa (M A Chidambaram Stadium,

Chennai)

T20 International Series:

Friday, 05 July @ 15h30 – 1st T20I: India vs South Africa (M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai)

Sunday, 07 July @ 15h30 – 2nd T20I: India vs South Africa (M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai)

Tuesday, 09 July @ 15h30 – 3rd T20I: India vs South Africa (M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai)

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