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Ken Borland

Commonwealth Games will hopefully see Proteas Women return to their strengths 0

Posted on September 12, 2022 by Ken

The novelty value and excitement of being part of a greater Team South Africa at the Commonwealth Games will hopefully see the Proteas women’s cricket team return to their strengths and bounce back from a torrid run of six straight defeats against England when they play New Zealand in their opening game at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Team unity will seldom be more important for the Proteas as they are without most of their leading individual stars – Lizelle Lee has controversially retired, Marizanne Kapp is back in South Africa attending to a family emergency, Dane van Niekerk is still injured and Trisha Chetty and Tumi Sekhukhune are also unfit to play.

They have also been in England for a long time, suffering regular blows to their morale, and key players like Shabnim Ismail, Sune Luus and Mignon du Preez have been struggling for form.

Coach Hilton Moreeng has tried to bolster the mood.

“It’s very exciting to have this opportunity to be part of the Games, it’s a first for us and you can see the joy in the players, they know they have the opportunity to do something special.

“It’s a very happy camp and we feel blessed to represent Team South Africa. The main thing is we have acclimatised and we can adapt to conditions in Birmingham very well.

“Plus we’ve been playing against a very competitive team like England, who are always in the top two and they have tested us well. We’ve gone back to the drawing board to see how we can improve.

“We’ve learnt a lot playing against England and now we will use that to see how we can get victories in the Commonwealth Games. We will need to fire in all our disciplines,” Moreeng said.

While New Zealand have been inactive since the World Cup in March, it should be remembered that they beat the Proteas 3-1 in their previous meeting back in February 2020, clinching the series by romping to a 69-run victory in Wellington.

England and Sri Lanka are the other teams in Group B, so it is likely whoever wins Saturday’s clash between the Kiwis and the Proteas will make the semi-finals along with the hosts.

But New Zealand have been underachievers in global women’s events and South Africa will hope their greater match-sharpness will allow them to put their opponents under pressure.

Play starts at 12pm.

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