VAN NIEKERK ‘PROUD’ AFTER ENGLAND DEFEAT

Momentum Proteas skipper Dane van Niekerk, while disappointed with the loss, says she is proud of her team for reaching the semi-final and the manner in which they accomplished the feat.

The Proteas went down to the England in a thrilling ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final in Bristol on Tuesday.

The Proteas Women posted a modest total of 218/6 at the end of their innings after electing to bat first, however it was just enough for the hosts to seal victory in the final over.

“If you were in our change room you’ll probably be crying now – it’s tough,” Van Niekerk told reporters after their two-wicket loss.

“Especially losing a game so close, you know that hurts even more.

“We were kind of down and out half-way through (the game), but the character the team showed and the way they fought – it hurt even more. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough and we didn’t have enough on the board.

“The character and fight the team showed throughout the tournament. Not a lot of people thought we’d come this far and I’ve very proud of them.”

Van Niekerk thought her side were 30 runs short after England chased their target of 219 with only two balls to spare.

“We didn’t have a perfect innings, I think both teams made mistakes on the field. In every cricket match there’ll always be extras and mistakes and that’s part of the game,” said the Proteas skipper.

“Yeah, we were 30 runs short, but the way my team went out to try and defend that – I couldn’t ask for more.”

Van Niekerk thanked South Africans back home for their ongoing support throughout the tournament and looked to get to the final in the next World Cup.

“The support from everyone back home has been so amazing and I just want to thank everyone who has reached out to us and showed their support,” said Van Niekerk.

“We wish we could have done it for them, but we can take heart in knowing that at least at the next World Cup, we have the capability and ability to go all the way to the final. We hope we made South Africa proud.”

South Africa finished the round-robin phase of the competition in fourth place, only losing to England and Australia before their semi-final heartbreak.

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