South Africa Women ‘distraught’ after T20 World Cup exit

South Africa Women’s captain Dane van Niekerk says her side are “quite distraught” after losing in the semi-finals of a major tournament once again.

The Proteas lost a rain-affected T20 World Cup semi-final to Australia in Sydney on Thursday as the hosts and four-time champions secured a meeting with India in Sunday’s final at the MCG.

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South Africa were thrashed by England in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in 2014, while they lost in the last four of the 50-over World Cup to England in 2017 and Australia in 2000.

“We just didn’t get over that hurdle of the semi-final. Everybody’s hurting, and that hurts me. The team is quite distraught at the moment,” Van Niekerk told the ICC’s official website.

“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 I cannot fault my team-mates 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. 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.”

South Africa were set a revised target of 98 from 13 overs after the match had been delayed by a downpour after Australia posted 134-5 at the SCG.

The Proteas ended on 92-5 – Laura Wolvaardt unbeaten on 41 from 27 deliveries – as their winless run against Australia in all formats stretched to 20 matches.

“[Wolvaardt] actually apologised for not getting the last runs but she couldn’t have done anything more,” added Van Niekerk. “She’s been brilliant, my pick of the tournament.

“Laura is a smart kid. She loves the game of cricket. The fact she gave up medicine to play cricket says a lot. She wants to bat all the time and gets upset when she doesn’t bat.”

South Africa – who will host the next Women’s T20 World Cup in 2022 – were applauded by Australia captain Meg Lanning after the thrilling semi-final.

“You can never rest and think you’ve got it in the bag, not even with the last few balls,” said Lanning. “South Africa played really well, took it right to the end.

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