South Africa have ended their recently-concluded series against Pakistan on a high note. They won the three-match One Day International series by 3-0 whereas registered a 2-1 series win in the Twenty20 International series. But the head coach Hilton Moreeng is not getting too excited despite all the positives.
Global pandemic novel COVID-19 has brought the entire world into a standstill last year and it was a tough year for everyone, including sportspersons and South African team is no different. But they did reasonably well while the series took place in a bio-secure environment (BSE) in Durban.
“This series was a good opportunity to get the girls playing again and build towards the World Cup, especially the one-day part of the tour,” Moreeng said. “Overall we felt the skills got better as we went along, the bowling and the fielding in particular. Batting yes there’s still a few elements we can work on, but the progress made so far from game one shows that the team is moving in the right direction.”
It is also noteworthy that, this was the first series for the South African team after their appearance in the 2020 T20 World Cup in February. However, young opener Laura Wolvaardt finished the ODI series as the highest run-scorer for South Africa with 125 runs in three innings, second overall after Pakistan’s Aliya Riaz (136). On the other hand, Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka ended at second and third place with the ball after Diana Baig (nine wickets).
As far as the T20I series is concerned, Tazmin Brits topped the chart with 118 runs whereas Ismail made a world-record. She picked up seven wickets and became the first South Africa player – male or female – to claim 100 T20I wickets.
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Hilton Moreeng further added: “One could see the rustiness was there initially and a bit of nerves here and there, but once the competitive edge started taking over you could see the nerves settling and the players starting to execute their skills well. So as far as ODIs go we feel the team is heading in the right direction.”
“The same can be said for the T20s, we improved as we went along. It was also good to see youngsters who got the opportunity how they went and it’s for us to make sure we can broaden the base and keep improving in every facet of the game. We realise there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. To win the series 3-0, watching how the experience players came through when the chips were down and we had to dig deep as a team that was very pleasing as well. With a year to go to the World Cup, the feedback that we have thus far, we showing progress in the right direction,” he again shared.
However, the team has evolved a lot in recent times with Cricket South Africa (CSA) awarded national contracts and organize fully-fledged Women’s Super League (WSL) too. While they had reached the semi-final in 2017 World Cup in England, they were also one of the semi-finalists of the T20 World Cup in Australia last year as well. And, the head coach Hilton Moreeng believes the team will go a long way.
“When you have such a long lay-off there are a lot of things that need to be sharpened up. Players have played a lot of T20 cricket around the globe, so when we have to reset and start playing 50-over cricket again, you can see things happen slowly. Playing competitive cricket is always what you want and that is the bigger picture for us now, trying to build towards that, making sure players are getting better, players are getting opportunities. That competitive cricket between now and then will be very important and that is something we realise and just build on that,” he concluded.