It turned out to be a disappointing end to an overall challenging England tour for the Momentum Proteas. The team rounded off their final involvement in the T20 Tri-Series when they succumbed to an eight-wicket defeat in Bristol last week, with coach Hilton Moreeng bemoaning his side’s inconsistent displays throughout the tour.
South Africa finished bottom of the Tri-Series table, after a disappointing start to the series where they experienced two record-breaking losses to New Zealand and England respectively. They bounced back emphatically with a six-wicket win over the home side, but slipped back to defeat to the White Ferns on Thursday. The disappointing results coming hot on the heels of a 2-1 One-Day International (ODI) series defeat to the hosts.
Speaking on their most recent loss, coach Hilton Moreeng said; “Firstly, not enough runs were on the board and it wasn’t backed up by the second innings skills, which were poor. It was below par by our standards, especially if you look at the fielding, it didn’t back up the bowling on a wicket where we took the pace off and it benefited the bowlers – the fielding was just not up to par.”
When asked about where he thinks it went wrong during the England tour, particularly after the impressive start where the Proteas recorded their first win in more than 15 years against the reigning ICC Women’s World Cup champions, Moreeng pinpointed the lack of consistent skills execution, especially the fielding exercises that they have been working tirelessly on.
“Even in the second ODI, it went more or less the same as this game,” Moreeng responded. “It’s that consistency we’ve been lacking. Throughout the whole series, the fielding was not good and it is one area we need to go back home, have a look at and see how we can improve.
“With a short format like T20 cricket, we can’t afford to give the chances that we’re giving. The way we’re fielding at the moment is not going to work,” he added.
South Africa’s six-wicket win over England in their third match of the Tri-Series proved to be the only highlight for the side during the triangular tussle, the team having bounced back from the tough double-header defeats.
“When you look at the first day when we had a doubleheader, there were two two-hundred scores against us and you look at the way we played,” he said. “Then you go back and prepare and the very game after that, things go to plan. The way we played, the way we bowled and we started batting the way we know we can, then you come to a day like we had against New Zealand, the inconsistency is very frustrating.
“Even if you look at the pitch, there were not a lot of demons in it. We felt another 20/30 runs on the board, we could have made a game of it.” Moreeng continued.
Despite the disappointing series, there were some stand out players for South Africa starting with skipper, Dané van Niekerk who led the charge with the bat in hand. She recorded two half-centuries to end as the side’s top scorer with 188 runs. All-rounder, Suné Luus and wicketkeeper-batter Lizelle Lee also recorded fifties. The latter added 122 runs to her tally in the series a good follow-up to her impressive performance in the ODIs, top scoring with 211 runs including a century and half-century.
Moreeng however, believes the rest of the batting order struggled, with the lack of partnerships hindering their progress.
“With this format, you can always play around (with different options). At the end of the day, it depends on the occasion also,” he explained. “It’s just that our batting this whole series hasn’t fired, bar our captain and Lizelle Lee. They have been the ones consistently scoring runs and besides that, we haven’t had enough partnerships, hundreds or fifties in the changeroom.
“We’ve been struggling with the batting, but it is something we can go back and work on and we’ve got about three months before the (T20) World Cup for preparations.”
“There’s been some good lessons also learnt in this series,” Moreeng continued. “When you look at the two teams we played against, they were very good sides and well-drilled. We’ll take what we can and see what we can adapt in our plans to make sure we keep going forward.”
With a lot of lessons taken from the tri-series, the coach switches his focus to the upcoming series against the West Indies before the team take on the rest of the world in the ICC World T20 in West Indies in November.
“We’ve got West Indies (away) in September, in our IWC (ICC Women’s Championship) and T20 series and then we go directly into the World Cup,” he went on. “So there’s still a lot of cricket to be played and a lot of T20s.
“Luckily for us, we’ll be in the Caribbean early and we can get used to the conditions. Yes, it wasn’t a great series. We don’t pride ourselves in what we see, but there’s a lot we’ve learnt and it’s an opportunity for some of the players to come back and go work.”