The South Africa women's emerging squad rounded off a successful tour of Zimbabwe when they beat them by 92 runs in the second and final T20 of the series at the Harare Country Club on Tuesday. They complete an undefeated tour after winning the ODI series 2-0 last week.
Dané van Niekerk once again showed her mettle, returning an unbeaten top score of 62 off 55 balls. Skipper, Mignon du Preez added 49* from 28 balls to get the visitors to 151/1 at the end of their innings, losing just the wicket of Robyn Appels for 28 when she was bowled by Tasmeen Granger in the 11th over after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.
In reply, Zimbabwe did well to keep their wickets intact for longer at the start of their innings, even though they were ultimately bundled out for 59 in the 20th over. The bowlers, lead by Moseline Daniels, who took three wickets for 10 in just four overs, did well to hold up the pressure and took wickets at regular intervals once they got the breakthrough after the fifth over.
Ayabonga Khaka and Maryka Kirchoff took 2/5 and 2/17 respectively, while Suné Luus and van Niekerk chipped in with a wicket each to round off a thoroughly impressive attack.
SA coach, Hilton Moreeng is very happy with the standard of play and the talent unearthed during this tour. "It's been a very productive few days," he said. "The team played clinical, professional cricket and quite a few players have shown that they have more than what it takes to enter the high performance programme and that was one of our aims going in."
"We have to start looking at the future and we have identified several players who would be capable of holding their own if they were to be given the opportunity to step in for a member of the senior team if it were need," Moreeng concluded.
Zimbabwe coach, Leonard Nambaro is grateful to Cricket South Africa (CSA) for agreeing to bring their side over. It is Zimbabwe women's first attempt at hosting an international tour. They used it as a testing ground to see how much further the team need to go before they take part in the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifiers in Ireland this July.
"Tours like this should be played often for the growth of the women's game not just in Zimbabwe but everywhere," he said. "This tour has been so good for us as a team. South Africa have helped us in showing just how far we still need to go as a team in preparation for the ICC Qualifiers. Our batters have seen the kind of quality performances they will most likely face when we get to Ireland and they now know how much harder they need to prepare," Nambaro concluded.
Zimbabwe captain, Ashley Burdett has had a lot to consider and learn in the past week. She said: "This was definitely a big learning curve for us. Our batting needs to seriously improve by far if we want to compete at the ICC Qualifiers. The biggest lesson we took was from the South African bowlers, they taught us that if you have a strong bowling unit, it can take the game away from any opposition. We will hold a month-long camp ahead of the Qualifiers and we will work on all the areas that need fixing and refining and hopefully we will meet South Africa again in the World T20 next year."