Van Niek­erk’s side boast most po­tent seam bowl­ing duo in women’s game

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART HESS

DANé VAN NIEK­ERK will have one of those “good headaches” when she jug­gles what many be­lieve is the most po­tent bowl­ing at­tack at this year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The South African team touched down in London this morn­ing and headed to the east mid­lands town of Oakham (near Le­ices­ter) where they will play a warm-up game against Aus­tralia on Tues­day.

Van Niek­erk ex­plained ahead of the side’s de­par­ture this week that the warm-ups – they also play West Indies on Thurs­day – will pro­vide a chance to get the com­pet­i­tive juices flow­ing and tweak a few game plans ahead of their tour­na­ment opener against Pak­istan next Sun­day.

Key to South Africa’s strat­egy at the com­pe­ti­tion will be a bowl­ing unit that has many of the Proteas’ ri­vals be­liev­ing Van Niek­erk’s team is ca­pa­ble of mak­ing the final four at the tour­na­ment.

“I’m spoiled for choice. I’ve got eight dif­fer­ent bowlers, which is awe­some,” Van Niek­erk smiled. Among those are the most po­tent seam bowl­ing duo in the women’s game; Marizanne Kapp, the world’s No 1 bowler and Shab­nim Is­mail, the quick­est bowler in the world, who is cur­rently ranked 10 by the ICC.

In ad­di­tion there’s Van Niek­erk and Sune Luus’ leg-spin, Ayabonga Khaka’s outswing, Mose­line Daniels medium pace, young Rais­ibe Ntoza­khe’s off­spin and re­cently Chloe Tryon’s been able to add her left-arm seam­ers to the equa­tion af­ter a pe­riod out with an an­kle in­jury.

“I’ve got the best open­ing at­tack at my dis­posal and then fol­lowed by Ayabonga Khaka and she can do the job as well. The nice thing is, if it’s not some­one’s day, I can rely on some­one else too.”

Van Niek­erk ad­mits that so much va­ri­ety is vi­tal es­pe­cially in the mod­ern game where keep­ing bats­men off their rhythm is im­por­tant – with pitches that are so placid.

“We’ll def­i­nitely adopt a ‘horses-for-cour­ses’ ap­proach,” ex­plained Van Niek­erk. “The game has grown so much, there’s no longer that tra­di­tional thing that ‘you’re open­ing, you’re first change,’ …If I feel I want to bowl a spin­ner in the power play that’s the way it’s go­ing to be.”

The team’s coach Hil­ton Moreeng stressed the im­por­tance of sum­ming up con­di­tions and util­is­ing the right players and im­ple­ment­ing the cor­rect strate­gies for the team to achieve suc­cess. “We have to make sure we put the puz­zle to­gether be­cause on the day we are good enough as a unit,” he said.

The team has kept a close eye on the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy to get an un­der­stand­ing of how the pitches in Eng­land may play. “One day it’s a great wicket, the next it’s slow and spin­ning, for us it’s about as­sess­ing con­di­tions and adapt­ing,” said Van Niek­erk. “We’ve seen that squarer the field’s are big and straighter the bound­aries are shorter, those are small things, but it’s stuff we must be aware of.”

FAST-BOWL­ING THREAT: Marizanne Kapp, left, and Shab­nim Is­mail will spear­head the Proteas at­tack.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.