While England beat India by nine runs to claim the World Cup title on Sunday at Lord’s, it was the performance of legspinner Van Niekerk who claimed 15 wickets at an astounding average of 10 which really stood out.
The SA captain was part of the Proteas team that suffered a heartbreaking two-wicket semi-final loss to England on July 18 in Bristol.
Though the 24-year-old was unable to weave her magic against England in the knockout encounter with 0/25 from five overs, it was her performances throughout the tournament that led her side to the last four.
Van Niekerk claimed four scalps on two occasions with 4/22 against India before returning 4/24 against Sri Lanka, which helped South Africa qualify for the semi-finals with a match to spare.
Van Niekerk though, was ably-assisted by her teammates who boasted arguably the most impressive bowling attack in the World Cup. Marizanne Kapp was just behind Van Niekerk in the wicket-taking charts with 13 scalps at an average of 19.4 . Shabnim Ismail ended 11th with 10 wickets for an average of 26.4, and was closely followed by Sune Luus also with 10 wickets in 13th position with a bowling average of 17.4.
Opening batters Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee were the standout performers for South Africa with the willow.
Wolvaardt plundered 324 runs in seven innings at an average of 46.2, boasting a top score of 67 against England in the group stage. The hugely talented 18-year-old scored four half-centuries in seven games, which bodes well for the future of South African cricket. Wolvaardt ended 11th on the run-scoring table.
Lee scored 269 runs in seven knocks at an average of 38.4 with a highest score of 92 against India. Lee for her efforts, ended 13th in the run-scoring department.
African News Agency (ANA)