Cricket

Proteas women brace for Australia clash

2017-07-13 19:55
Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Proteas have already achieved their goal for this year's Women's Cricket World Cup in England - they have qualified for the semi-finals.

The side have impressed in England dominating with both bat and ball and securing a top four position with one game still remaining.

This is only the second time ever that the Proteas have qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament with the last being in 2000.

Proteas skipper Dane van Niekerk has led from the front and is now the leading wicket-taker (14) of the tournament thus far.

Van Niekerk and her charges sealed their semi-final berth against Sri Lanka on Wednesday with a comfortable eight-wicket victory.

They had already defeated Pakistan (by 3 wickets), West Indies (by 10 wickets), India (by 115 runs) and had a no result with New Zealand due to rain.

In their only loss, the Proteas went on to score over 300, but fell 68 runs short against the hosts, England at the County Ground.

Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng applauded his side for how far they have come and their hard work throughout the tournament.

"A round of applause goes to the ladies and the way they handled themselves, when we came here no one expected anything from us," said Moreeng.

"If you look at the way we started the World Cup, we had a jittering start against Pakistan and we've been getting better as we've gone along.

"Yes, we were disappointed with our loss against England, but a lot of lessons have been learned."

The Proteas take on their toughest opponent thus far in the competition, the defending champions, Australia.

"They are the best team in the world at the moment and we got them in the warm-up game, which was a tough day for us," Van Niekerk told reporters on Wednesday.

"We just have to tighten up our middle overs, we generally start off really well when we get some wickets upfront. We know that will be crucial, because they have a very good top order and they bat deep.

"We are quite excited, it's always good to play against the best and play competitive cricket."

The Proteas take on Australia in Somerset on Saturday (11:30 SA time).

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