Heartbroken Dane van Niekerk reflects on coming up short yet again
CAPE TOWN – A red-eyed Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk admitted the ICC T20 World Cup semi-final defeat to Australia on Thursday has left her “heartbroken.”
Van Niekerk’s team came agonisingly close at the Sydney Cricket Ground to becoming the first South African senior cricket team to reach an ICC tournament final, but ultimately fell five runs short by virtue of the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Heavy rains in Sydney had threatened to wash out the second semi-final, which would have meant the Proteas would have progressed to Sunday’s final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where India lay in wait. India had advanced earlier after the first semi-final against England was abandoned.
However, the rain stayed away long enough for Australia to post 134/5 in their allotted 20 overs. The heavens opened again during the dinner break, though, which meant the Proteas’ target was revised to 95 off only 13 overs.
Despite a brilliant undefeated 41 off just 27 balls (3x4, 2x6) from young batsman Laura Wolfvaardt, South Africa ultimately fell five runs short of their target to finish on 92/5.
“To come short every time is hard. It is very emotional. I am heartbroken for the team,” Proteas captain Van Niekerk said. “We win together and we lose together. It wasn’t our year unfortunately.
“It is a very talented team. Laura has been incredible. It is a strong side. We're not a team that blames anything or anyone. It was in our hands but unfortunately not our day. But credit to Australia. They bowled really well.”
Van Niekerk was also in charge of the Proteas when they lost another tense semi-final to England at the 50-overs World Cup in Bristol back in 2017.
RESULT! Despite a fighting knock from Wolvaardt (41*) it was not enough as Australia claim a 5-wicket win and their place in the #T20WorldCup final on Sunday.— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 5, 2020
South Africa fall agonisingly 5 runs short of the 98-run target.#SAvAUS #AlwaysRising #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/FPlDH9EZOJ
The next ICC T20 World Cup will be held in South Africa in 2022 and Van Niekerk is hoping home advantage could work in her team’s favour in two years’ time.
“It's (South Africa) a great place to come, hopefully the people will come out to support us," she said.@ZaahierAdams