SA women distraught after T20 semifinal defeat

TOUGH HIT: SA captain Dane van Niekerk says the team are hurting after their semifinal defeat to Australia
TOUGH HIT: SA captain Dane van Niekerk says the team are hurting after their semifinal defeat to Australia

In the midst of their disappointing‚ rain-affected semifinal defeat against Australia‚ SA women’s captain Dane van Niekerk said getting the game completed had been their main objective.

The ICC T20 Women’s World Cup semifinals were held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but persistent rain washed out the first play-off between England and India.

With India topping their group‚ they qualified for the final.

The same would have happened to SA if the weather didn’t change, with the rain dissipating long enough for a game to take place.

Australia were sent in and made 134/5 in 20 overs.

Rain during the break lopped seven overs from SA’s allotment‚ meaning they had to chase 98 from 13 overs according to the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern method.

SA fell five runs short but Van Niekerk said they needed to earn their final spot.

“We came here to play cricket and we didn’t look at the radar or the weather,” Van Niekerk said.

“We felt like if we want to go to the final‚ you have to beat the best in the world.

“Everyone was up and about‚ ready to play the game.

“I can’t fault my teammates.

“Australia bowled really well and bowled to their plans, they restricted us.

“We’re not going to sit here and lie to say we’re not going to think about it‚ but we have to give credit to the ground staff.

“They did everything in their power to keep us on the park.

“We were here to play cricket. I’d rather lose than get a free pass into the World Cup final.”

The loss hurt though, as SA played some wonderful cricket to get to the semifinals.

“It’s upsetting and the team are quite distraught at the moment.

“It’s now the second time the team have come really close in a semifinal, and to not get over the hurdle‚ it’s really hurting and that hurts me‚” Van Niekerk said.

Van Niekerk admitted that Australia’s playoff street-smarts had got them out of a tight corner.

SA bowled well to limit Australia to a chase of less than seven runs an over before the DLS method adjusted the target.

Van Niekerk also said she had not overthought the game, even though it was SA’s first T20 semifinal in six years.

“I thought tonight was the night but it wasn’t meant to be,” she said.

“I had a calm heart about tonight, come rain or sunshine‚ I was calm when I got here‚ no matter what happened.

“I knew if it wasn’t meant to be‚ then it wasn’t meant to be.

“They’re experienced in knockout games.

“We’ve only been in three and they’ve been in countless ones.

“Their plans were spot-on though.

“When you look at how they started the tournament and where they are now‚ it shows the quality of the team.

“You can never write off the No 1 team in the world.

“At some stage‚ it was our game to win and theirs to lose‚ but they turned the tables — that came with experience and confidence.”