Dane van Niekerk, captain of the SA Women’s cricket team, the Proteas Women, was overwhelmed with the big crowd that gathered at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) head office yesterday in Melrose for her side’s send-off event to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies next month.
The Proteas Women were met by an enthusiastic bunch of supporters with South African flags outside the CSA head office as they got off the bus to attend their send-off party for the first ever standalone ICC Women’s T20 World Cup set to start on 9 of November.
Dane van Niekerk Positive Her Team Will Win
Van Niekerk, who is positive that the Proteas Women will bring the trophy home said the support is overwhelming: “I am not going to lie. We are not used to massive crowds. Coming to your home and seeing people excited (that) you off to a massive tournament is amazing. I can’t quite shake the feeling as yet. I don’t really know where to look but just to realize how many people care and support us has been brilliant and quite emotional. As a captain for a team that has been amazing.”
The Proteas Women (the SA Women’s cricket team) toured the West Indies from September 10 to October 6 where a couple of one-day internationals (ODI) and T20 internationals in Barbados and Trinidad were played. They have an edge over their opponents as they spent some time in the Caribbean getting used to the weather and conditions ahead of the world cup
“We are spoiled. Getting a sneak peak of the conditions before a massive tournament is invaluable. You can’t buy that and we have to thank CSA for the opportunity to go there just to fine-tune our plans. It was a rocky tour for us on the field – not off the field. It was quite an enjoyable tour off the field, the team handled it very well. Sometimes you can get lost in the off-side stuff, but the team was brilliant. The two weeks that we got home we just fine tuned our plans – hopefully, we can put everything together.”
The SA Women’s Cricket Team World Cup Campaign
South Africa will be opening their World Cup campaign when they face Sri Lanka on November 12, before taking on England and the defending champions West Indies, respectively. Their final group encounter will be against World Cup qualifier winners, Bangladesh.
We have plans for certain bowlers and batters. You can’t go into the game blind, but the main focus is what we are going to do and stick to our strengths, van Niekerk said. “I think we focused too much on the opposition in the past and forgot what we really do well.”
The Proteas Women are very capable of beating any side. The likes of Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Shabnim Ismail, Lizelle Lee, Suné Luus, Marizanne Kapp, and Laura Wolvaardt have played in a World Cup before and they will have to show their experience and play really well if the team is to stand a chance of bringing the trophy home.
We are attacking by nature, we should just go there and play our brand of cricket, live by the sword and die by the sword type of thing.
The South African captain has no regrets and appreciates that cricket has taken the team to amazing places. She highlighted the fact that when the Proteas Women enjoy their cricket results show, and it was evident when they toured England earlier this year. “Hopefully we can get that enjoyment factor into the tournament and have fun.”
Before the West Indies tour, van Niekerk and her side had a tough Tri series tour against England and New Zealand where they also gained valuable experience and knowledge on where they have to improve before the World Cup.
The things I say comes from the heart. They are not just teammates they are family, from management straight down to the last player, we are friends. I am just honored and blessed and hopefully, this team can do right by themselves and win a world cup, van Niekerk said.