Moreeng backs his experience side ahead of India and World Cup Challenge
Momentum Proteas head coach, Hilton Moreeng believes his squad is well-equipped and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead of and during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup South Africa 2023, beginning with the Women’s T20I Tri-Series Final against India on Thursday.
The finale gets underway at 15h00 (SAST) at Buffalo Park in East London, with all the action broadcast live on SuperSport Cricket (Ch. 212).
Ahead of the conclusion of the ongoing Tri-Series and following the Proteas Women’s squad announcement for the T20 World Cup on home soil, Moreeng addressed the media on Wednesday.
The 45-year-old, who also celebrated his birthday on the day, touched on various talking points including the make-up of the selected squad, the final against India and the expectations of hosting a global showpiece.
Throwing forward to Thursday’s clash in the Buffalo City, the head coach emphasized the importance of staying in the present, with the focus solely on finishing strong against a talented Indian side before looking ahead to the World Cup.
“The most important for us is to look at where the squad is and where everyone needs to be before we can leave Buffalo Park. Once we are happy with what we are seeing with most of the players, then we can look into and worrying about the World Cup,” Moreeng commented.
“With every preparation, every game that we’ve had, even the practice matches that we had, the World Cup has always been the bigger picture, but we realized that it is one day at the time.
“We have a (Tri-Series) final against India, where in the first game we didn't start well. You could see the rustiness from the players, that competitive edge was not where it was supposed to be because of the break that we had but it has been an upward curve for the squad and we're very happy to see how the team is moving in the right direction in these conditions.
“It is just about making sure now that we can finish off well and take the momentum into the World Cup,” he added.
After the competition of the Tri-Series, Moreeng and his Proteas Women side will move to their base in Stellenbosch to finalize their World Cup preparations before kicking off the tournament in the opening game against Sri Lanka on Friday, 10 February at the Six Gun Grill Newlands Cricket Ground.
With the weight of expectations of an entire nation placed on the team, Moreeng is backing his side’s lived experience, particularly in recent global ICC events, and states the squad is fully aware of what will be needed in order to be successful, albeit in the unique environment of a World Cup on home soil.
“For us it goes without saying; you're playing at home, you have an opportunity to win a World Cup in front of your home supporters, that is what every player in the squad has been speaking about for the last year and a half,” he noted.
“Its conditions that most of us are familiar with and we want to give ourselves the best chance. The first hurdle for us is to make sure we get through the group stages and get ourselves in the knockout stages and then we can take it from there.
“We have enough experience. Most of the core players that's currently in the squad have been to the World Cup, they have experienced these semi-finals and they know what is required going forward,” the coach added.
The biggest talking point of the press conference was about the omission of all-rounder, Dané van Niekerk from the 15-player World Cup squad. The 29-year old missed out on eligibility for selection after not succeeding in a bid to meet the team’s minimum physical requirements.
Whilst sympathizing with the player, Moreeng highlighted the importance of focusing on the way forward for the squad as they prepare to take on the world on South African shores.
“It's been tough on everyone and the player that I know will be very disappointed because of what has transpired. But at end of the day, we as a team, we need to move on and we know we’ve got a final that we need to focus on tomorrow.
“Overall, the team has been working hard and yes, these kinds of disappointments are one of those things in sport that you deal with and at end of day, we need to move on as a team,” Moreeng added.
Momentum Proteas 17-player squad for T20I Series (vs India and West Indies):
Suné Luus (Fidelity Titans) (Captain), Chloé Tryon (Hollywoodbets Dolphins) (Vice-Captain), Anneke Bosch (North West Dragons), Tazmin Brits (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Nadine de Klerk (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Annerie Dercksen (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Lara Goodall (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Sinalo Jafta (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Ayabonga Khaka (DP World Lions), Masabata Klaas (North West Dragons), *Tebogo Macheke (Fidelity Titans), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Tumi Sekhukhune (DP World Lions), Delmi Tucker (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Six Gun Grill Western Province)
T20I Tri-Series (South Africa, India, West Indies)
Thursday, 02 February 2023 – 15h00 SAST
Tri-Series Final: South Africa vs India (Buffalo Park, East London)