Hilton Moreeng eyes more opportunities for players ahead of World Cup

Hilton Moreeng wants more players in knockouts of top T20 leagues

South Africa coach Hilton Moreeng. © Women's CricZone

South Africa head coach Hilton Moreeng is not getting too excited despite their drubbing of Pakistan in the ODI and T20Is recently in Durban. The Proteas whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the ODIs before winning the T20Is 2-1. This was the first time both Pakistan and South Africa played international cricket after COVID-19.

“This series was a good opportunity to get the girls playing again and build towards the World Cup, especially the one-day part of the tour,” Moreeng said. “Overall we felt the skills got better as we went along, the bowling and the fielding in particular.

“Batting yes there’s still a few elements we can work on, but the progress made so far from game one shows that the team is moving in the right direction.” Laura Wolvaardt finished on top of batting charts for the hosts with 125 runs in three games, second overall to Pakistan’s Aliya Riaz (136).

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Pakistan pacer Diana Baig was the star with the ball with nine wickets from three games ahead of Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka. In the T20Is, Tazmin Brits (118 runs) was the sole batter to cross 100 runs in two matches, while Shabnim Ismail was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball that included a fifer in the second match.

“One could see the rustiness was there initially and a bit of nerves here and there, but once the competitive edge started taking over you could see the nerves settling and the players starting to execute their skills well. So as far as ODIs go we feel the team is heading in the right direction,” the coach said.

“The same can be said for the T20s, we improved as we went along. It was also good to see youngsters who got the opportunity how they went and it’s for us to make sure we can broaden the base and keep improving in every facet of the game.

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“We realise there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. To win the series 3-0, watching how the experience players came through when the chips were down and we had to dig deep as a team that was very pleasing as well. With a year to go to the World Cup, the feedback that we have thus far, we showing progress in the right direction,” Moreeng added.

South Africa have performed well in recent years finishing in the top-four of the 2017 World Cup in England and the T20 World Cup last year in Australia. Moreeng admitted that a lot more can been achieved.

“When you have such a long lay-off there are a lot of things that need to be sharpened up,” he added. “Players have played a lot of T20 cricket around the globe, so when we have to reset and start playing 50-over cricket again, you can see things happen slowly.

“Playing competitive cricket is always what you want and that is the bigger picture for us now, trying to build towards that, making sure players are getting better, players are getting opportunities. That competitive cricket between now and then will be very important and that is something we realise and just build on that.”