The captain of the South African cricket team, Dane van Niekerk, lashed out at critics who misinterpreted her ‘free pass’ statement after South Africa were knocked out of the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final after facing a defeat in the hands of Australia. A majority of the critics were fans of the Indian cricket team who lashed out at Niekerk after she said she would rather lose than get a free pass into the World Cup final.
The fans felt that Niekerk’s comments were in direct reference to India reaching the World Cup final despite not playing the semis match against England as the match was washed out. India had topped Group A, and with the semis getting rained out, the toppers advanced to the finals.
The South African all-rounder minced no words in her reply to the critics, saying,
“NO reference was made towards ANY team. If you want to take it out of context and not actually watch the whole interview, be my guest. Still a VERY proud captain of a VERY talented team.”
Niekerk, while urging everyone to watch the interview before making a judgement on her, attached a link of the whole interview on her Twitter timeline. When taken with full context, Niekerk said,
“I have to give credit to the ground staff; they did absolutely everything to keep us on the park. And we are here to play cricket. I’d rather lose than get a free pass into the World Cup final.”
The whole debate regarding India’s ‘free pass’ began when India advanced to their maiden Women’s T20 World Cup final after their semi-final against England was washed out at the Sydney Cricket Ground. As per the rules of the tournament, the team with a better standing at the end of the group stages advances to the next round. India had finished on top of Group A after winning all their matches while England had finished second to South Africa in Group B.
India will face Australia in the Women’s T20 World Cup final on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.