‘We want to dominate the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier 2017’

Dane van Niekerk

Dane van Niekerk

The ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 is the most important tournament in our fixtures for this season to date. In order for us to make it to the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, we need to make sure that we arrive and dominate the Qualifier.

This will also do well in giving us a bit of momentum going into the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 because we’ll have played quite a lot of cricket and that, combined with our tour against Bangladesh and other series in the pipeline ahead of the big tournament, will give us the confidence needed to participate in an event of the scale.

We’ll be playing quite challenging teams, if you think about it; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh in sub-continent conditions, which are perfectly suited to them. It’s definitely not going to be easy, but we know what we need to do in order to have a successful tournament. We really want to win the Qualifiers because it will put us in good stead mentally going into the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.

Our preparation so far has been really good. We’ve just had a great tour of Bangladesh where we won the series 4-1. That was awesome and also a really good psychological plus for us going into the subcontinent again and having to face not only them, but other countries from the same region. We know it’s not easy for us playing in those conditions and that it’s the direct opposite for them (subcontinent teams), so we will definitely have to bring our A-game and then some.

One of our strengths as a team is that the composition of the side has never been better. We have finally found that sweet spot in the balance of the team that has us playing together to the best of our ability and with the return of Shabnim Ismail and Trisha Chetty, we are that much stronger. Our bowling is definitely a big strength of ours, our batting has improved immensely too, but our bowlers have consistently set up a large number of our wins.

I think the formula for us is pretty simple. We have to play our best game every time we play. We aim to at the very least fire in two of the three disciplines, but of course all three need to be right up there with the very best in the world if we want to have a successful campaign.

Looking ahead to the tournament, I’m fairly comfortable with our chances. We’ve been to Sri Lanka and we did pretty well there. The bowlers summed up the conditions pretty well and the batters have been working really hard on their spin options. We don’t see that being a problem. In Bangladesh recently our batters got a rude and timely awakening about not taking teams and certain games for granted, you have to work for every win and we saw how they bounced back and came back firing in the following two games.

Teams to look out for me would be India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. You never know what you’re going to get with them and that’s what makes them a bit daunting to face, but on the other side of that, we will never take any other side for granted. This is cricket, anything can happen and upsets are a part of the game so we approach every encounter with a respect for both the game and the opposition.

All in all, we’re really excited to get to the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 and play our brand of cricket. It’s a really good opportunity for developing sides to measure themselves up against stronger opposition and that can only grow the women’s game more.