South African cricket teams. Rain. ICC events. They don’t go together well. Thursday was another case of so close but yet so far as the Proteas lost their fourth semi-final across 20- and 50-over World Cups and still never having reached the Final of a major ICC event.
It was a semi-final that very nearly didn’t happen due to bad weather. The first semi-final of the day had already been washed out and persistent rain threatened the match between hosts Australia and South Africa, too.
Remarkably, groundstaff managed to get the pitch ready for a game. Had the fixture been a washout, the Proteas would have progressed ahead of Australia.
Captain Dane Van Niekerk, who watched her side fall five runs short of an adjusted target of 98 from 13 overs, didn’t want to progress to the final like that. She also rallied behind her side, saying there is nothing more they could have done to get over the line.
“The team is quite distraught at the moment,” she said.
“We just didn’t get over that hurdle of the semi-final. Everybody’s hurting, and that hurts me.
“We felt if we wanted to go to the Final we had to beat the best in the world. Everybody was up and about and ready to play the game. I cannot fault my teammates one bit in any facet of their game.
“I thought tonight was the night but it wasn’t meant to be. I had a calm heart about tonight. When I came to the ground, no matter what happened, rain or shine, I was really calm.”
“The culture of the team is incredible. This team’s incredible. I wish you guys could be in the changing room with us all the time.”
Watch: No free passes for Dane Van Niekerk
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.