Cape Town - National women’s coach, Hilton Moreeng remains optimistic that the Proteas are on the right track despite defeat to New Zealand in a seven-match one-day international (ODI) series that concluded earlier this week.
It was the first bilateral series between the two nations with South Africa going down 5-2, and in the process also falling out of the automatic qualification race for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup.
“If you look at the series overall, we really welcomed the opportunity to play,” Moreeng said.
“It was our first stand-alone series against New Zealand and I think the way we played in the first three games showed that we’re heading in the right direction. We’re competing well against the best in the world. In the second part of the series, I think we let ourselves down badly with the bat.”
Moreeng was disappointed in the batting effort that saw the team overly reliant on the experience of Mignon du Preez and Dané van Niekerk, and each time they failed, they imploded.
“It’s something we address on a daily basis,” the coach explained. “The batters all know it’s an area we need to turn the corner in. We’re getting enough starts in the team, but we’re just not capitalising. It’s something that puts the whole batting line-up under pressure. It’s something that will be ongoing.”
Moreeng refused to blame injuries to key players at crucial times for the loss.
Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon and Lara Goodall all sustained injuries as the series progressed.
“Injuries are part of the game, they’re not something that anyone plans,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we had to lose those players, but there were others that came in and grabbed their chances.
"If you look at Ayabonga (Khaka), she came to the party and she’s shown incredible growth. I think others like Odine Kirsten also showed signs of what to expect from her in the future. Masabatha Klaas, being Player of the Match in the sixth game, it shows there’s enough depth in the squad and when everyone is fit, we’ll be a really tough team to beat.”
South Africa will now need to play in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier early next year in order to be eligible for the World Cup.
Before that, they have to play the winners of the ICC Women’s Championship, Australia, in their own country next month.
Moreeng says that the world number one side will be their focus for now, before they look ahead to the qualifying event.
“Going there is going to be a challenge, but we have the talent to compete,” he adds. “There is no doubt about that.
“The conditions are similar to home, so there won’t be that much of an adjustment except for the time difference. The batters will have to step up and if that happens, then who knows what can happen.”