The Momentum Proteas are gearing up to take on England and New Zealand in their first ever T20 International double-header as the Tri-series kicks off in Somerset on Wednesday.
Team coach, Hilton Moreeng says that the series will be the perfect continuation of the team’s preparation for the ICC Women’s World T20 starting in November in the West Indies. It will also serve a good indicator of where the team stands when put up against some of the most highly regarded T20 cricketers in the world currently.
“Preparation has been good,” he commented. “We did a lot of reflection on the ODIs as a team, there are a couple of things that we have identified that we have to improve on. But looking ahead to the back-to-back games, this will be the first time that we will be taking part in a series of this kind, which makes it exciting.
“The change in format has been good for us because the players enjoy T20 cricket a lot. It’s a very short format where skills need to be on point. We’re up against two very good sides, which will make it even better for us as to go and challenge ourselves and give us a taste of the intensity that will be needed when we go to the World T20.”
Moreeng is confident that his charges have shaken off the 2-1 ODI series defeat to England and are mentally prepared for the tri-series ahead. The coach said that having had time to assess themselves and where they erred against England, the Proteas are looking forward to actioning the lessons learned.
“When we look at our lost series, yes we didn’t win it, but the skills were there. There were a lot of positives that we could take away from it and bring into this series,” he explained. “When it comes to T20s we know that all the teams have strength and what it takes to win. Anything can happen, it’s only 20 overs. It’s about who on the day can execute their basics well, execute their skills and mentally stays calm. It’s an aspect that we’re growing into as a team and is a format that we would like to get better at as we don’t play it as often as we would like. The players are up for the challenge and are looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how they go.”
South Africa on paper, boast a side that should easily dominate in the T20 format but a lack of consistency keeps the side from reaching its true potential. Moreeng believes that it is small changes that can turn the side’s fortunes around and make them one of the leading teams in World Cricket.
“We have one of the best bowling units in the world but at the end of the day, you need to make sure that you execute your skills well on the day. It’s one thing to be, it’s another thing to go out on the park and actually do the job,” the coach emphatically stated.
“Batting wise, the skills are also there, it’s just about the performance on the day as well. We need to make sure that those kinds of performances are consistent and that individually and as a team, we move together. If you look at the ODI series it was mainly one unit that was firing and the other one not, so we need to get ourselves into positions where we start to perform well in all three disciplines of the game and we do it on a regular basis. We’ve got the quality in the changeroom to compete well against these teams and win the series.”
Momentum Proteas squad:
Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Chloe Tryon (KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Ayabonga Khaka (Gauteng), Masabata Klaas (North West), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Suné Luus (Northerns), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Andrie Steyn (Western Province), Zintle Mali (Border), Stacey Lackay (Western Province), Tazmin Brits (North West).
Hilton Moreeng (Head Coach), Salieg Nackerdien (Assistant Coach), Sedibu Mohlaba (Manager), Abram Ramoadi (Performance Analyst), Russell Clarke (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Molebatsi Theletsane (Physiotherapist), Sipokazi Sokanyile (Media Liaison).
IT20 Tri-Series - England, South Africa & New Zealand
20 June – The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, South Africa v New Zealand, 1pm start; England v South Africa, 5:40pm start
23 June – The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, England v South Africa, 1pm start; England v New Zealand, 5:40pm start
28 June – The Brightside Ground, Bristol, South Africa v New Zealand, 1pm start; England v New Zealand, 5:40pm start
1 July – Final – The CloudFM County Ground, Chelmsford (3pm)