Dane van Niekerk confident Sydney Sixers can get their campaign back on track

Dane van Niekerk confident Sydney Sixers can get their campaign back on track

Dane van Niekerk. © Getty Images

Sydney Sixers allrounder Dane van Niekerk believes that it is only a matter of one game for the side to find their winning momentum that will help get their campaign back on track. After suffering a 14-run loss to Adelaide Strikers at the Drummoyne Oval on Sunday (November 15), the Sixers dropped out of the top four for the first time in season six of the Women’s Big Bash League. Although they are still tied on points with Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder, the Ellyse Perry-led side have a lower net run rate as compared to their opponents.

“I guess the momentum is a bit against us. With the short amount of time and a lot of games back to back, you can really lose momentum and that's what's probably happening at the moment,” van Niekerk said after the game.

“We are a quality side and we just need to regroup and get back up and about. It's four losses, yes, but we still have a chance to get into the top four and into the semi-finals.”

While admitting that the condensed schedule of the tournament has made it difficult for the players who have come into the WBBL with little to no cricket under their belts, van Niekerk was adamant that the Sixers are not far away from returning to their winning ways. She said the players were focused on recovering well for a busy next week.

“Especially with COVID and everything, not a lot of cricket has been played around the world, so it's obviously a bit tough on the bodies. But, you know, we get paid to do a job. The recoveries are spot on. We've got all the help and resources that we need to get up and about for the next game,” she explained.

“It's going to be a tough couple of days, but we have won two championships and that's not for nothing. So we just need to get up and about again.”

The leg-spinner, who conceded only nine runs in her first two overs, and cleaned up Stafanie Taylor with the first ball of her third over, was one of the bowlers who Tegan McPharlin, went after during her match-winning knock of 41. Van Niekerk gave away a total of 19 runs off her final 11 deliveries, 12 of which came off the last over.

She admitted that after getting off to a good start with the ball against Strikers, the two-time champions were unable to close out the innings and were then put under pressure by McPharlin’s counter-attacking knock.

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“It was disappointing , first of all. I think we started off really well with the ball, but McPharlin came out and took the game to us. I reckon they were on par, but our batting wasn't on par today. We lost because of our batting. Two little partnerships and it made us pay.”

With Ashleigh Gardner having been withdrawn from the match after showing symptoms of a concussion while fielding, Sixers had to call on young Maddy Darke as her replacement. Although van Niekerk conceded the loss of Gardner with the bat may have hurt the Sixers, she was adamant that the rest of the batters should have stepped up to the plate.

“She's a match-winner in her own right. Obviously, it generally hurts the batting line-up when she's out, but we know we have a quality batting line-up. What we have within the team, we should have chased that down.”

“It was a difficult pitch, it wasn't the easiest one, but I mean it's sometimes nice when bat goes up against ball. It moved a little bit and there was some purchase for the spinners as well. Credit to Strikers, they bowled really well to contain us, but as a team we would back ourselves to chase that down.”

Ahead of what is going to be a very busy week for the teams with as many as four matches over the course of the next six days, van Niekerk reiterated her belief in Sixers’ ability to bounce back and make a charge for the final four. She sounded a warning bell to all the other teams, stating that when the side turned their game around, it would be trouble for the other teams.

“It's not great to lose, but as I said we've got quality players in the side and it's just a case of one game for us to click and it's bound to happen. Its like a batter doesn't score, with time they're bound to score. So as a team we're bound to click and I think there'll be trouble in the Big Bash if we start clicking again.”