Proteas Women out to turn around their form and fortunes in Pakistan
After a 3-0 drubbing in the T20I series, the Proteas Women now turn their attention to the 50-over format in their historic tour to Pakistan.
It’s been only 214 days since the Proteas played in the T20 Cricket World Cup final in front of a sold-out Newlands Cricket Stadium in Cape Town.
In their first series since the momentous final, the Proteas have fallen to a 3-0 T20I series defeat to Pakistan – their first tour to the subcontinent country.
“Very tough series overall,” new interim skipper Laura Wolvaardt said. “Very frustrating to come pretty close in all three games and just be on the losing side all three times.
“Pakistan played very well overall. They played well in the conditions, they rotated strike a lot better than us and they bowled a lot slower and it was harder to hit… They bowled very well.”
In comparison, Pakistan only won one of their four World Cup matches earlier this year, beating Ireland by 70 runs.
The usually reliable bowling department is where South Africa struggled most, taking only 13 wickets in the three T20I matches while failing to restrict Pakistan in both of their chases.
The Pakistanis beat South Africa by five wickets, seven wickets and six runs in the three respective matches.
“In all three games they probably held their nerve at the crucial moments better than what we did,” Wolvaardt, who was named player of the series with 157 runs across the three matches, said.
“They stayed in their chases better than what we stayed in our chase [on Monday].
“They played very good cricket and I think we were caught on the back foot a bit and just struggled to adapt throughout the series.”
Much has changed for the Proteas since their 19-run loss to Australia on 26 February during their home World Cup.
Suné Luus stepped down as captain and Wolvaardt took over while pace ace Shabnim Ismail hung up her spikes.
And the usually reliable bowling department is where South Africa struggled most, taking only 13 wickets in the three T20I matches while failing to restrict Pakistan in both of their chases.
“They bowled very well,” Wolvaardt said of the Pakistani bowlers.
“They only played one seamer [in the third game], so their spinners are kind of all of their bowlers. And we just didn’t work the ball around too much.
“We had more dot balls than them. I haven’t seen the stats yet, but in the other games we had too many dot balls as a batting unit,” the skipper shared.
“As a bowling unit as well, we just struggled to keep it simple. They just kept it very simple. They were able to bowl to their fields and just frustrate us and get ones.”
While Ismail’s raw pace is a glaring hole in the Proteas’ line-up, they still had the experience of Marizanne Kapp along with the guile of No 2-ranked T20I bowler Nonkululeko Mlaba to fall back on.
“Obviously cricket is a funny game sometimes and I do think we played good cricket in patches throughout the series,” Wolvaardt said. “I don’t think it was just weaknesses and I think we can reflect on the good stuff as well.
“There were certain parts of our games that were better and then other parts that were worse and that’s just things that we’re going to have to analyse and see which phases of the game we can do better at and come back with better plans for the ODIs.”
Read more in Daily Maverick: Proteas take on Pakistan in Laura Wolvaardt’s maiden voyage as T20 skipper
A positive from the series defeat is the continued form of the opening partnership between Tazmin Brits and the skipper. Brits scored 78, 46 and 18 in the three matches while the ever-reliable Wolvaardt struck 44, 41 and 72.
“The first couple of games I would have liked to bat at a bit of a higher strike rate,” Wolvaardt added. “It’s something that I’m trying to improve as an opening batter, to start the games off a bit better.
“Taz and I in general had better power plays than what we’ve had in the past. So it’s a step in the right direction.”
The team now turn their attention to the three-match One Day International series which starts on Friday, 8 September. All three will be at the National Stadium in Karachi. DM