‘It is not really a free pass’ – Harsha Bhogle reacts to Dane Van Niekerk’s ‘free pass to final’ comment
"I'd rather lose than get a free pass into the World Cup final.” - Dane Van Niekerk said after losing the semi-final.
Updated - Mar 6, 2020 5:44 pm
The South African women’s cricket team captain Dane van Niekerk was extremely disappointed not to make it to the finals of the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia, as they lost their semi-final match to the hosts after rain intervention left them chasing 98 runs in 13 overs. Australia held their nerves as South Africa choked by 5 runs via D/L method.
In the aftermath of this result, Australia qualified for the final, where they will face India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on March 8 aiming to make the match historically significant, given that this is the first time Women’s T20 World Cup is being held as a standalone event, separate from the Men’s event.
The ICC is hoping to break the attendance record for a women’s sporting event at MCG. The current record of 90,185 was set at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final held at the Rose Bowl in the USA.
Harsha Bhogle reacts to Dane Van Niekerk’s comment
On the other hand, a massively distraught Dane van Niekerk made a controversial comment after failing to make it to the final. England captain Heather Knight lamented the lack of reserve day for semi-final matches in the event. Van Niekerk seemed to support Knight and mentioned that, “I’d rather lose than get a free pass into the World Cup final.”
The Women in Blue’s semi-final, which was played before the South Africa vs Australia encounter at the SCG, was rained out without even the toss happening, against England, resulting in India reaching the final for having more points in the group stage. India had won all of their league matches, while England had lost their first match and hence was eliminated.
Dané Van Niekerk at the press conference:
“I’d rather lose than get a free pass into a World Cup final”
This was sheer CLASS. #T20WorldCup
— Yash Lahoti (@YvLahoti) March 5, 2020
This didn’t sit well with Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle, who reacted to Niekerk’s comment for her words and mentioned, “Except that it isn’t your choice whether to play or get a free pass! And it isn’t really a free pass but a qualification for playing well in the group stage.”
Except that it isn't your choice whether to play or get a free pass! And it isn't really a free pass but a qualification for playing well in the group stage. https://t.co/VSA9n61wJd
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 5, 2020
India had made it into the finals for the first time in their seventh attempt in the tournament and will be meeting Australia on March 8, which is also International Women’s Day.