Nadine de Klerk joked that hitting the winning runs was a bit anti-climactic after her quickfire 21 not out, along with three wickets, helped The Blaze to victory over Northern Diamonds.
“It would have been great if Saz [Sarah Bryce] could have finished it off because she had played brilliantly – it’s one of the best innings I’ve seen.”
An unbeaten 67 from Bryce guided The Blaze easily to their target of 133, seeing them pick up a fifth successive victory in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, as well as confirming their place at Finals Day at Worcester.
De Klerk has proved invaluable for the side since signing for the 2023 season, with her wickets today taking her to the top of the wicket-taking charts for this competition.
She acknowledged this personal accolade, but her priority lies with the team performing well, saying: “Our team is on top of the table, so the fact we are doing well is the most important thing for me.
“I’m just glad I could contribute. Obviously, I am always happy to be top wicket-taker, that is what you work for as a cricketer, those small moments in your career.
“That’s not the end-all – it is more important for me to be on top of the table, and that we keep winning games of cricket.”
The South African international bowled in both the powerplay and the death overs, recovering from a wicketless first spell to take three late wickets, restricting the Diamonds’ first-innings score.
Despite not bowling in the powerplay often, she said: “I just do whatever the captain expects from me on the day.
“With Sarah Glenn not here, there was an opportunity to get in at the end of the powerplay. I’m just happy to contribute to the team.
“It was not the greatest day with the ball, to be honest, but I felt like I was quite unlucky as well – there were a lot of edges flying past the keeper, which you can’t control.
“It’s just about backing my skills, remaining clear on my plans, and sticking to that.
“Of course, you are going to go for a few runs at times, but it is just about really backing myself and just keeping it simple.”
These feelings of both self-belief and self-awareness were constant from de Klerk, who said it was just about belief in herself when she came out to bat facing a hat-trick ball.
This has been more important than ever considering she is in possession of the sole overseas spot in the team, which she believes brings its own external pressure.
However, she thinks the environment created by The Blaze has allowed her to thrive, saying: “It’s always a bit nerve-wracking when you get over here as an international, but the team have been great.
“They’ve not put any extra pressure on me – they have just allowed me to be me, and to back myself.
“I think we have gelled together as a team well, and we haven’t just relied on one or two people. Even when times were tough, we just kept on sticking together, which is great to see.”
De Klerk, like the rest of The Blaze’s team, is not just content with making it to Finals Day. The way the South African speaks shows that there is a real sense of team spirit amongst the squad, which is translating into results on the pitch.
They want to go all the way in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, and with their togetherness, along with de Klerk’s form, you wouldn’t bet against them currently.