Preparations are vital for performance in a series, more so an overseas one. No wonder South Africa are leaving no stone unturned as they get ready to take on New Zealand in a three-ODI series, that are part of the ICC Women's ODI Championship.
The Proteas took on a district boys' side and did pretty well. Nadine de Klerk and Trisha Chetty, two of those who fared well, felt that match practice was something no nets session can emulate.
"It was really good preparation for the team. The wicket is much slower than what we thought and I think the girls are adjusting pretty well. And I think it is good preparation thus far," said Trisha Chetty, the experienced wicketkeeper.
Nadine de Klerk, the allrounder, also seemed pleased after the game, speaking to Cricket South Africa. "I think from the batting point of view it was not easy, it was very slow and the boys bowled quite well," she said.
"I think there is a bit of movement off the seam - quite different to South Africa - and I think the girls played well. We batted for quite a period of time so I think that really helps to get used to conditions."
It wasn't a surprise about the duo talking about adapting to the time zones as well, with South Africa and New Zealand being way apart on the globe.
"I think the first few days were kind of hectic and everyone wanted to just sleep. We kind of adapted very well because to play the whole 50 overs on the third day was tough," said de Klerk.
"We did struggle a bit for the first few days but the girls are getting used to the conditions and the time zone. Everything is going to plan now," admitted Chetty later.
After going down 3-0 to India in the ODIs they played in September 2019, the Proteas have perhaps realised the importance practice games can have on a tour.
"I think it is important to get as much time as possible in the middle to get use to the wickets and the conditions. At the same time you need to be disciplined in your skills and be able to play every ball on its merit," said Chetty.
De Klerk seconded the fact, saying, "I realised that there are fielders, there's pressure. You can be in the nets the whole day but it won't help you score runs. You can play a brilliant cover drive but straight to the fielder."
Dane van Niekerk is back at the helm of affairs and so is Chloe Tryon back in the mix after they missed out on the tour to India. As a result, the Proteas have a full-strength side. However, not everyone was part of the first warm-up game due to to jet-lag. Thus the second practice game on Wednesday (January 22) could be an opportunity for them.
Meanwhile, New Zealand named Sophie Devine as their skipper ahead of the series, which also sees Rachel Priest make a comeback to the national side. Chetty sounded confident of her side's performance, while being cautious of the opposition.
"I think New Zealand is a good team," she said, before adding, "But at the same time we played really well and we have a strong team. So (we're) looking forward to the upcoming matches one game at a time."
The sides take field against each other for three ODIs and five T20Is, which will act as a final dress rehearsal ahead of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup, 2020.
Also Read : Van Niekerk, Tryon return for 2020 T20 World Cup