Cricket

Proteas women geared up for Australia clash

2017-07-15 09:22
Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - Proteas skipper Dané van Niekerk is looking forward to her team's last round-robin ICC Women's World Cup match against Australia in Taunton on Saturday.

The all-rounder believes that this is the perfect opportunity for the South Africans to give themselves a momentum boost going into the semi-final stage of the tournament, but they will have to play their best cricket in order to achieve this.

"We all know they are the defending champions and are the number one team in the world so there are nerves flying about a bit, but we’re both in the semis and we (South Africa) want to give ourselves good momentum going in," she said at the pre-match press conference this afternoon.

The last time the sides met was in their first warm-up match of the tournament just three weeks ago but it was Meg Lanning's troops who returned victorious.  

Van Niekerk however, believes that the gap between the teams is narrowing and is convinced that her charges have what it takes to beat Australia and continue their good form in this tournament so far.

"Our first warm-up against them didn't go the way we wanted, it was definitely a blip, losing the way we did because we know we are better than that," she continued.

"In the last series we played them, two or three games were really close and we tied one, showing that we are closing the gap. In a tournament like this, anything can happen.

"We don't want to get too ahead of ourselves but I think we’re peaking at the right time. Everything we've worked for these past few years is paying off."

The skipper wants to see a stronger show from her bowlers during the middle over periods after they have made their initial breakthroughs up front. She believes that this will be the game changer against the strong Australian side.

"They have a long batting order with good batters. We identified we get through their top order well and pretty quickly but we fall asleep in the middle overs and that's an area we've worked on and improved on during this tournament, so I'm really looking forward to Saturday and seeing how the girls respond to them."

Having already qualified for the semi-finals with a match to spare, Van Niekerk reiterates that there is still a lot to play for in Saturday's fixture, with their exact position in the top four depending on their result and that of the other matches taking place at the same time.

"There's still a lot to play for, like where you end up in the top four and who you play against in the semis. Saturday is just as important as any other game and we’ll treat it as such," she concluded.

The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport 8 from 11:15 (SA time).

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