Calm, composed Mignon du Preez joins the ranks of SA cricket greats
CAPE TOWN – Amidst the euphoria of South Africa’s historic six-wicket victory over England at the Waca, it sometimes easy to forget the small moments within the game that led to the eventual outcome.
Everyone will forever remember Mignon du Preez – and rightly so – for smashing the final two deliveries out of the park, and also Ayabhonga Khaka’s fine spell earlier in the day, but it’s often just a word of motivation here or there that gets the team over the line.
Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk certainly believes in setting the tone through old-fashioned team talks within the huddle on the field, and Sunday’s at the halfway point of the game certainly appeared inspirational.
South Africa had just restricted England to a below-par 123/8, but there was an animated Van Niekerk appearing as if she was reading the riot act to her team.
“It was more just Dane saying we've done really well; the bowlers have bowled brilliantly. And for once we've actually been outstanding in the field. That was one of the areas that stood out in the past. But she said she wants every batter that walks into the crease to bat themselves and know they've got a job to do and they can finish it off,” Du Preez said.
“I think this year we just decided that we want to focus more on us and what we can do well, what we can do as a group because it's something we can control we can't always control what their position will do.
“I think maybe it will be different this time around. We just decided we know we're good enough. We just have to play and have fun and enjoy. And it's a wonderful opportunity.
“I think it's the biggest women's World Cup there has been so far. And to be part of it is such an honour. So I think for us it's just a time to use our talents and enjoy it,” she added.
The belief in their own abilities the Proteas Women’s team is currently enjoying is heavily reliant on the experienced players leading the way. Du Preez keeping her calm in the final over has much to do with the fact that she was playing in her 100th T20 International.
Equally, the performance of Van Niekerk and fellow seasoned campaigner Marizanne Kapp really boosts the entire team’s confidence. The pair put on 84 runs for the second wicket that stabilized the run chase after the early loss of power-hitting Lizelle Lee.
“I think the way she (Van Niekerk) and Kappy set the example, the brilliant partnership in the middle, that definitely got us close to what we needed. We know we've got batting depth. I think for them it's important for them to take it as deep as possible.
And every batter that walked into the crease just to know that you have the ability and you can win a game for your country,” Du Preez said.@ZaahierAdams