De Klerk's time to shine as Proteas secure crucial series win in Pakistan

12 September 2023 - 13:26
By Stuart Hess
Nadine de Klerk's importance to the Proteas was underline in the second ODI against Pakistan where she took 4/32 with the ball and scored an unbeaten 24 with the bat.
Image: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images Nadine de Klerk's importance to the Proteas was underline in the second ODI against Pakistan where she took 4/32 with the ball and scored an unbeaten 24 with the bat.

Nadine de Klerk underlined her increasing value to the Proteas with another solid all-around display that ensured victory in the ODI series over Pakistan with a match to spare. 

De Klerk took a career best 4/32 and followed that with an unbeaten 24 to secure the player of the match crown in Monday’s second ODI, which SA won by six wickets. 

In just over a year, De Klerk has gone from being a talented prospect to one of the most important players in the Proteas team with her contributions, particularly with the ball, adding depth in an area where the side was looking thin after the retirement of Shabnim Ismail

The 23-year-old gave credit to her teammates for the pressure they helped create in Monday’s match. The bowling of Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka and Masabatha Klaas limited the home team to just 21 runs in the first 10 overs, and they picked up three wickets in the process. 

“I was the lucky bowler to cash in, but it can’t go unnoticed what Aya, Kapp and Klaasie did in the power play,” De Klerk said. “The Pakistan batters had to try to score off someone and I benefited from that. 

“It was a great team performance in the field. The bowlers have had a tough time because the wickets have been quite flat, so to come out and put in those two performances [in the ODIs] has been incredible.”

Although De Klerk made her debut in 2017, her role has been a bit-part one as Kapp, understandably, was viewed as the sole all-rounder. Fortunately the selectors had a change of heart last year, using both in the starting team for the one-off Test against England.

They never got away from us, but sometimes you think you are on top, you can let it slip a bit, so that is one thing we need to sharpen up
Nadine de Klerk

The added depth she provided with both bat and ball gave captains extra options and her spell in the semifinal of the T20 World Cup against England, created pressure at a crucial point in England’s innings.

She acknowledged that even as she became a more regular starter there were still times when nerves got the better of her, and on Monday she was grateful to have Kapp alongside her at the crease as South Africa closed in on victory.

“I know at times you can get frantic, but Kappy’s got so much experience and she did a great job of just keeping me calm.” 

The pair shared an unbeaten 54-run partnership for the fifth wicket as the Proteas raced to victory with 16 overs to spare. 

After a difficult T20 series in which they struggled to come to terms with Pakistan’s slow bowlers, in the longer 50-over format the Proteas have batted and bowled with more aggression. Still there were lessons the players could take from the win.

“If we have to be negative, we let it slip a little [after having them 49/6], and for them to end up getting to 170 was disappointing,” De Klerk said.

“They never got away from us, but sometimes you think you are on top, you can let it slip a bit, so that is one thing we need to sharpen up.”

Although the series has been secured, there are still two points up for grabs in the ICC Women’s Championship, which will determine the five automatic qualifiers for the 2025 World Cup. The last match of the series will be played in Karachi on Thursday.