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Dane van Niekerk

Dane van Niekerk wants South Africa to make winning a habit

SA v Ban, 3rd WT20I, reaction

Ayabonga Khaka, whose 3/10 made her the Player of the Match, was pleased to rectify the mistakes she had made in the second T20I.

The Twenty20 International series went the way the one-day internationals did, finishing with South Africa sweeping Bangladesh. The ODIs were won 5-0 and on Sunday, the T20Is were annexed 3-0, giving Dane van Niekerk’s team the fillip they needed in the run up to the ICC Women’s World T20 later this year.

“Very proud captain at the moment,” said van Niekerk after South Africa won the rain-hit, nine-overs-a-side third game by 23 runs. Batting first, South Africa had Tazmin Brits top scoring with 29 as they got to 64/4, and then they stopped Bangladesh on 41/6 with Ayabonga Khaka (3/10) and Marizanne Kapp (2-9) doing most of the damage.

“We didn’t think we’d play once we got here because it was proper raining,” van Nieker continued. “For the team to make a mental shift from 20 overs to nine overs was amazing. Our first innings, we were a bit short, to be honest. But with our bowling line-up, we know we can defend anything if we just execute our plans. The bowlers did brilliantly well. Aya, Kappie, Shebbie (Shabnim Ismail) – brilliant.”

For Khaka, it has been a good series. She picked up seven wickets in the four ODIs she played, including two three-fors, and then picked up four wickets in the three T20Is for the combined cost of just 56 runs.

“I’m so excited about it. There’s still a long way to go, I still need to work on my bowling. But I am very excited about it,” said Khaka, the Player of the Match. “To be honest, I was scared today, but I thought let me just do my job, correct the mistakes I made yesterday and everything came right today. I didn’t bowl well yesterday so I just wanted to come out today and hit the wicket hard.”

Despite the win, van Niekerk wasn’t particularly pleased with the effort of her batters, saying ‘this one goes to the bowlers’, but did have a word of praise for Brits, who was playing just her second T20I.

Ayabonga Khaka was the Player of the Match in the third T20I
Ayabonga Khaka was the Player of the Match in the third T20I

“Tazmin top scored today and that was very pleasing to see as well. For her to grow in confidence, especially just her second game. We got the runs on the board but the way we went about it maybe wasn’t the right way,” said van Niekerk.

That said, the 8-0 scoreline was a good one for South Africa. “That’s the way we want to play cricket and that’s the way we want to win series. We haven’t done that before, and if we can make that a habit, winning is a habit, then we can go very far and be very successful,” said the captain.

“It’s a very important year for us. We are taking on England and then we have the World Cup, so as a team we need to grow in confidence and we need to believe in ourselves. We have world-class players. We just have to start believing and show it against the top three in the world.”

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