South Africa coasted into the final of the Spar Diamond Challenge netball series on Wednesday, ripping through underdogs Zimbabwe to hammer home a thumping 72-37 victory in their clash at Rembrandt Stadium in Pretoria.
After securing a convincing win over Scotland the day before, the Proteas were even more dominant against neighbours Zimbabwe, cementing their place at the top of the round robin table and securing their spot in this weekend’s final.
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Despite facing relatively unfancied opposition, Proteas assistant coach Dumisani Chauke said they were delighted with their results in the first half of this week’s Diamond Challenge campaign.
“We’ll definitely take the two wins and celebrate that with the girls because they went out there and worked hard for those wins, which were not given to them on a silver platter,” Chauke said.
Ranked 13th in the world – eight places below South Africa – Zimbabwe had never beaten their neighbours in nine previous Test matches, and they again failed to make any real impact.
The hosts charged into a commanding lead in the early stages and never looked back, holding a 38-17 advantage at the half-time break before stretching the gap in the last two quarters, even after Proteas coach Norma Plummer rang the changes ahead of the final period in order to give all her bench players sufficient opportunities on court.
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The Proteas will face the SA Presidents XII tomorrow, before turning out against either Scotland or Zimbabwe in the Diamond Challenge final on Saturday.
“We do know, whoever we’re playing (in the final), they’re going to go back and do their homework on us and come back well prepared, but we will also do our homework,” Chauke said.
“As coaches, there are always areas you want to go back and work on and improve, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.”