Her form has been so irresistible in this year’s Women’s World Cup that many fans are calling on the men’s side to pick her as the Test spinner against England.
Yet all Proteas Women’s captain Dane van Niekerk hopes to do is carry on her good form with the ball against world No 1 Australia in the their last group game in Taunton on Saturday.
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She and her troops have already qualified for the semifinals and are eager to test their skills against the defending champions, who they might end up facing in the semifinals.
The Aussies, hosts England and the Proteas are the three teams to have booked their spot in the last-four, with tomorrow’s group match between New Zealand and India effectively a quarterfinal to determine the last semifinalist.
Van Niekerk, a leg-spinner, has claimed three four-wicket hauls in five matches on her way to topping the wickets chart with 13 scalps at an freakish average of 6.46.
In other words, she’s been simply unplayable.
“I don’t know,” was Van Niekerk’s reply when quizzed on her remarkable success thus far in England.
“Getting injured two months before the tournament and not doing anything works I would guess,” she added, chuckling.
“My pace bowlers are making my job a lot easier in applying pressure to the top order. I guess I just come in and kind of buy wickets.”
Indeed, Marizanne Kapp is the joint second highest wicket-taker with 10 scalps, while fellow new ball bowler Shabnim Ismail is joint third with nine wickets.
Her wicket-taking ability in the middle overs has proved the difference in skittling the West Indies and Sri Lanka out for 48 and 101 respectively.
Ironically, it’s exactly the type of skill the Proteas men lacked in this year’s ICC Champions Trophy.
And Van Niekerk realises the importance of keeping things tight against the Aussies.
“Usually in tournaments like this we do well against them up front, we just need to tighten up our middle overs.
“Australia are the best team in the world and the defending champions. We got them in the warm-up games and it was a tough day for us.”