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Proteas happy with dominant performances in T20I and ODI series against Ireland

FILE - Lara Goodall starred with the bat during the Proteas’ recent T20I and ODI series against Ireland. Photo: @ICC/Twitter

FILE - Lara Goodall starred with the bat during the Proteas’ recent T20I and ODI series against Ireland. Photo: @ICC/Twitter

Published Jun 18, 2022

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Johannesburg — “You want to dominate teams like this, and we did,” Shabnim Ismail said in the aftermath of the Proteas’s successful limited overs tour to Ireland.

After losing the first T20 International, the Proteas proceeded to dominate the Irish, who were missing several players because of injury and university exams, winning the last two T20s and then claiming a 3-0 series triumph in One-Dayers. That meant a full house of points for the International Women’s Championship competition that will determine the automatic qualifiers for the 2025 World Cup.

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While some might bemoan the quality of the opposition, South Africa did what they had to and most pleasingly, some less experienced players took the opportunity to make a point to the selectors.

Andrie Steyn and Lara Goodall were outstanding with the bat, with the latter finishing the series with an aggregate of 143 runs, that included a career-best 93 not out in the second ODI. Steyn, who opened alongside Laura Wolvaardt, made an assured 84 not out in the same match, and retained her place in the squad for the tour to England.

“It takes a lot of pressure off the senior players knowing that the youngsters can play freely,” said Ismail. “But it's also important that the senior players make the youngsters feel comfortable within the team and help provide them with the self-belief to go out there and deliver their best.”

“Goodall did that in the T20 and ODIs, Andrie did it in the ODIs and you must give them credit because it’s not easy to come out on the international stage and just play so freely, they played really well and I hope that success continues onto the next series.”

With the ball Nadine de Klerk and Tumi Sekhukhune bowled with precision with De Klerk in particular, catching the eye of captain Sune Luus. “You watch Nadine bowl, and you can really see the 100% commitment she gives after every single ball,” said Luus.

How those young players will fit back into a starting team once the likes of Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee and further into the future, Dane van Niekerk return will be a tricky problem for the selectors to solve, but it is one of those good problems to have.

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Ismail finished with 11 wickets, and comfortably the top wicket-taker in the series, underlining her class with a brutal opening burst in the last match, in which she picked up four wickets, eventually completing the match with figures of 5 /8 - her second ODI five wicket haul. “I feel like I am peaking in my career, I’ve created a good base for myself. I try to concentrate on the off field stuff, it starts in the nets, where I put in the hard yards, and in doing so, I feel confident about my game when I go onto the field.”

The next challenge that awaits the Proteas will be much harder as they face England in a Test, three ODIs and three T20 Internationals ahead of the Commonwealth Games at the end of July. Despite the Irish not providing stiff opposition, South Africa will be better for having gotten match time into the players’ legs.

Kapp and Lee will strengthen the squad for the England tour that starts with a three-day warm-up match against England A in Sussex as part of the preparations ahead of the historic One-off Test against England that starts on June 27.

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@shockerhess

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