CAPE TOWN – South Africa's batting unit simply has to improve if the Proteas are to progress to the semi-finals at the ICC World T20, says captain Dane van Niekerk.
The Proteas crashed to 76 all out – in pursuit of 108 for victory – against the West Indies on Tuesday evening in St Lucia. Van Niekerk’s team lost their last nine wickets for just 26 runs!
Even more concerning though for the Proteas is that this cannot be consigned to a once-off nightmare. Although the Proteas beat Sri Lanka in its World T20 opener on Sunday, the batsmen have struggled since arriving in the West Indies. All the warm-up matches were lost – primarily due to the batting unit’s failure to adapt to the conditions.
“I am very disappointed and what can we say with a batting display like that. I can't fault the bowlers and the batters aren't doing any justice to the bowlers. We spoke about the full face of the bat, but we're not doing it at the moment,” Van Niekerk said post-match.
South Africa’s bowling unit – traditionally its strongest arrow – continues to give the team a fighting chance. Fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has been superb thus far in the West Indies, following up her Man of the Match performance against Sri Lanka with another brilliant 3/12 that helped restrict the Windies to just 107.
Ismail is now the joint-highest wicket-taker in the competition thus far with six scalps.
The failure to contend with the fervent atmosphere generated in the The Darren Sammy Cricket Ground by the locals - and spurred on by the former Windies captain himself – was also a concern.
“We didn't play against just the XI, we played against the whole crowd. Credit to them, they deserved the win,” Van Niekerk admitted.
In contrast, the Windies were inspired by their home crowd’s support, with Taylor battling through a neck injury to drive her team to a 31-run victory.
“I pushed on to take wickets. We knew there wasn't enough runs on the board and we just wanted to bowl in good areas. I tried to take the pace off and bowl more into the wind,” Taylor said.
“I said to the girls we just have to go out there and bowl our hearts out and dive around. Fantastic to see this crowd.”
The next two matches are must-wins for the Proteas if they aim to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament. They face England this Friday at 10pm SA time followed by Bangladesh on Sunday (2am Monday morning SA time).@ZaahierAdams
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