South Africa signs off from the World T20 with grace

South Africa’s skipper Dane van Niekerk says, “South Africa’s unity shone through even in the devastation of defeat to Australia in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 semi-finals.”

The invincible South African team that had a wonderful run in the league stage, choked in the semi-final against defending champions Australia on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The Proteas lost their fourth semi-final across 20-and 50-over World Cups and have still never reached the Final of a major ICC event.

 

Anya Shrubsole comforting Dane van Niekerk after England beat South Africa World Cup semi-final was one of the moments of the tournament
Anya Shrubsole comforting Dane van Niekerk after England beat South Africa World Cup semi-final was one of the moments of the tournament. Pic Credits: Sky Sports

 

Chasing an adjusted target of 98 from 13 overs, a heartbroken Van Niekerk, who watched her side go down to the Aussies by a minuscule margin of five runs backed her team as she felt the team had done everything possible to get over the line.

The South African captain averred, “The team is quite distraught at the moment,” she said. We just didn’t get over that hurdle of the semi-final. Everybody’s hurt, and that hurts me. We felt if we wanted to go to the Final we had to beat the best in the world. Everybody was up and ready to play the game. I cannot blame my teammates one bit in any facet of their game. I thought tonight was the night but it wasn’t meant to be. I had a calm heart about tonight. When I came to the ground, no matter what happened, rain or shine, I was really calm.”

After the loss today, South Africa has still not managed to get past Australia in as many as 20 attempts across all formats.

Taking a leaf out of this World Cup, Van Niekerk’s team has come a long way and the players will be optimistic on leaving a mark in the next year’s 50-over World Cup, having reached the final four in 2017.

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In the hindsight, South Africa will be proud to have discovered a player like Laura Wolvaardt, who has evolved into a strong middle order bat in the T20 format. Wolvaardt actually opens the batting in ODIs.

“Laura is a smart kid, first of all. She loves the game of cricket,” said the skipper on a player who scored 94 runs without being dismissed in the competition.

South Africa Women's Team
South Africa Women’s Team. Pic Credits: ICC

“The fact that she gave up medicine to play cricket, that says a lot. She wants to bat all the time and gets upset when she doesn’t bat. She gets upset when she sits on the side, and it showed in this World Cup. She wanted to be out there. She actually apologized for not getting the last runs. She couldn’t have done anything more. She’s been brilliant and she’s been my pick of the tournament,” elucidated Van Niekerk.

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