Points on board key strategy for improving Proteas women, says coach Moreeng

Points on board key strategy for improving Proteas women, says coach Moreeng
Hilton Moreeng, South Africa coach during the 2nd Womens T20 International match between Momentum Proteas and Pakistan Women at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium on January 31, 2021 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Three games into the 50-over Women’s Cricket World Cup, South Africa is yet to lose. The team has been far from clinical, but head coach Hilton Moreeng says he’ll take winning ugly over losing any day.

Three days after a challenging but watershed victory over reigning one-day international (ODI) champions England at the ongoing World Cup, the Proteas women return to the field on Thursday for another important clash – this time against hosts New Zealand.

In spite of not playing their best cricket so far at the 50-over showpiece – a fact acknowledged by the players themselves – the South Africans are one of only two teams to still hold a perfect record. They share the accolade with heavy favourites for the world title, Australia.

Hilton Moreeng’s team has won three from three so far, beating Bangladesh, Pakistan and, most recently, England. All those games have been close-run affairs, with individual brilliance, particularly from the Proteas’ deadly fast-bowling attack, pulling the team over the line.

The Proteas’ head coach believes that despite not performing as well as they have in the past year or so – during which they won ODI series over New Zealand, Pakistan, India and West Indies – securing a full complement of points remains the main priority in World Cup cricket.

“Holistically, we haven’t actually played the kind of cricket that we have been playing over the last year and a half. If you look from the first game to the third game, we had batters and bowlers in different situations that had to win us the game. So, it shows that, collectively, in all three departments (batting, bowling and fielding) we haven’t fired as we would like to, especially by our standards,” Moreeng said in a virtual pre-game press conference on Wednesday.

“We would love to eventually get to a situation where all three departments are firing. In a World Cup it is very tough and you don’t always get the ideal game, but we are working towards that,” he added.

“The bottom line is that when you are in a World Cup, make sure that you get yourself the two points. That is critical. As ugly as it may be and as tough as it may be, they have to make sure they stick together and make sure we get the required results.”

Home favourites

Although New Zealand hold an imposing record over South Africa overall in ODI cricket, with the White Ferns winning 11 of their previous 16 encounters, Moreeng’s charges claimed three of those five wins in a 3-0 whitewash during a series away from home in 2020.

A loss to West Indies in the opening match of the tournament was a blow to the White Ferns’ ambitions on home soil, as was the 141-run trouncing at the hands of neighbours Australia.

However, wins over Bangladesh and India mean they are still firmly in contention for a semifinal spot. As such, they will want to avoid further losses in order to prevent qualification coming down to net run rate.

Assessing the White Ferns, Moreeng said: “They are an all-round team. They had a very successful series building up to the World Cup, against India, so it is not a team you can say they have a lot of weaknesses. They’ve got a wealth of experience in their changeroom, players who have done it all, and we know what they possess.”

“It’s a team that, on their day, plays well as a unit, and playing on their home turf; it is a must-win game for them as well. They need to make sure they keep the momentum of winning.”

With a run of fixtures against Australia, West Indies and India to follow the clash with New Zealand, the Proteas will be desperate to secure maximum points against the hosts. More importantly, after some nervous moments, they will be hoping to finally settle into a rhythm that will carry them to the knockout phase.

The match is on Thursday, 17 March at 3am South African time. DM


[hearken id=”daily-maverick/9284″]


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Feeling powerless in politics?

Equip yourself with the tools you need for an informed decision this election. Get the Elections Toolbox with shareable party manifesto guide.