‘I’d rather lose than get free pass into the World Cup final’ – Dane van Niekerk after South Africa’s loss to Australia in the semis

‘I’d rather lose than get free pass into the World Cup final’ – Dane van Niekerk after South Africa’s loss to Australia in the semis

South Africa couldn't chase down the revised target of 98 in 13 overs.

van Niekerk
van Niekerk. (Photo by Matt King-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

South Africa were unbeaten in Group B and were the table-toppers, winning three out of four games with the other match against West Indies getting washed off. With predictions of rain ahead of their semi-final clash against Australia, Dane van Niekerk and Co had the upper hand. It’s because, a wash-out would’ve sent them to the Final on March 8 as they finished the group stage on top.

Rain indeed interrupted, but South Africa ended up losing the match by five runs (DLS Method). In the post-match press conference, skipper Van Niekerk was asked about South Africa’s chances of progressing to the final by virtue of finishing above the Aussies in the Group stage. Replying to it, she said,  “I am not going to sit and lie and say, ‘You don’t think about it’.”

After electing to field first, South Africa restricted Australia to 134 for five in 20 overs. Skipper Meg Lanning’s run-a-ball 49 guided the Aussies to the respectable score. But then rain halted play in the break and Van Niekerk’s women were set revised target of 98 in 13 overs. The South African top order got starts, but couldn’t convert. Laura Wolvaardt’s 27-ball 41 couldn’t save the day for her team.

I have to give credit to the ground staff: Dane van Niekerk

Keeping her disappointment aside, Van Niekerk also credited the groundsmen at the Sydney Cricket Ground for their work to prepare the field for play. Moreover, she said that she didn’t wish for a free entry into the World Cup.

“I have to give credit to the ground staff; they did absolutely everything to keep us on the park. And we are here to play cricket. I’d rather lose than get a free pass into the World Cup final,” the 26-year-old added.

The other semi-final between India and England at the same venue was abandoned due to rain. India, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, made their way through to the final as they finished group A as the toppers. Heather Knight, the English skipper, and the rest of the players were gutted following the unfortunate ending to their campaign in the T20 World Cup.