Van Niekerk: We know we have to bring our A game

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The South Africa women go into their second fixture at the Women’s World Cup against New Zealand quietly confident and wary of their opposition.

Speaking to members of the media at the County Ground in Derby on Tuesday, captain Dané van Niekerk said that she and the team are aware of how dangerous the White Ferns are and they are looking to play Wednesday’s match as though it were a knockout.

New Zealand are coming off a very convincing, nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their opening match on Saturday, while South Africa came out on top in a thrilling match that saw them beat Pakistan by three wickets on Sunday.

While she is glad that her lower order batters were able to pull off a victory for the team, Van Niekerk wants to see a more clinical performance from her charges in the next match.

Van Niekerk said: “We know that they are a very good side. From their batting to their bowling, we know they are a good all-round side, but as always we want to concentrate on what we do well as a side.

“We’ll obviously have our plans for their batters and bowlers, but at the end of the day, it’s about us and what we want to achieve and the brand of cricket that we want to play.”

“If we can better our performance by 20 or 30 percent in the bowling department and even more in the batting department, we’ll definitely give them a run (for their money).

“I don’t want another situation where our basics are being forgotten, we need be more clinical if we want to beat the best teams in the world.”

The weather forecast for Wednesday’s fixture paints a gloomy picture with heavy rain predicted to fall throughout the day, but this does not worry the Proteas captain.

Van Niekerk continued: “I don’t think it’s going to worry us at all. The girls came here to prepare for a game against New Zealand and that’s what we’re gonna rock up to do tomorrow.

“We still have our game plans, we still have skills to execute. If the rain comes, we’ll have to work with it and just be mindful of the Duckworth/Lewis if and when it should come in effect.”

With the first match over and done with, Van Niekerk hopes that the opening game jitters are a thing of the past and that the team can heed the warnings that they experience in Leicester.

“On the last match, you always want to be clinical and I think we made it a lot harder on ourselves. There’s no excuse for the fact that that game got so close. That being said, momentum is momentum.

“Both teams are coming off good wins and at the end of the day, we just need to come out and play our best cricket and hopefully we’ll come out on the right side of the result.”

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