ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020: South Africa Team Preview
Dan van Niekerk's return may have bolstered South Africa but they are still a bit off the mark to have a shot at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 semis.
After Dan Van niekerk returned to lead South Africa, the team has registered some success in the ODI format, clean sweeping New Zealand 3-0. However, the tables turned in the T20I format again with the team losing the series 3-1 after the final match was abandoned.
Lizelle Lee was the top-scorer for South Africa with an average of over 30, piling up 219 runs from 7 innings at a strike rate of close to 100. Fellow opener Laura Wolvaardt was also among the runs with an average of over 30.
Ayabonga Khaka was the top wicket-taker for the team with 9 wickets from 7 innings. Sune Luus also picked up 9 wickets from just 6 innings, including a 5-wicket haul.
Proteas head coach Hilton Moreeng named 11 players in the team's 15-member squad from the 2018 T20 World Cup pool, alongside 4 T20 World Cup debutants.
Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk, after recovering from an injury, returns to lead an experienced squad. The all-rounder hadn't played a T20 International since February 2019, but made a successful comeback from injury during the WBBL and had a decent outing against New Zealand thereafter.
Eight players in their squad have Big Bash experience which will come handy, with the tournament set to be hosted by Australia. While Chloe Tryon represents Hurricanes in the WBBL, Shabnim Ismail plays for Thunder. Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee played for Stars in WBBL 5.
The Proteas Women open their pool campaign against England Women in Perth, followed by Thailand Women, Pakistan Women and West Indies Women.
Squad: Dane Van Niekerk (c), Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Mignon Du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Chloe Tryon (vc), Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Tumi Sekhukhune, Trisha Chetty, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Nadine De Klerk, Nondumiso Shangase
South Africa raised a lot of hope by clean sweeping New Zealand 3-0 in the ODIs. However, the team could not maintain the same level of intensity in the T20Is and lost the series 1-3.
Prior to that, the team suffered a 1-3 defeat against India in a 6-match series. Their last series victory in T20Is was against Pakistan when the team won a 5-match T20I series 3-2.
Record in T20 World Cups
South Africa did not have the greatest of starts and failed to qualify for the Super Six in the inaugural edition of the Women's T20 World Cup. The team returned home after winning the seventh place playoff against Sri Lanka by a big margin of 9 wickets.
Next year, South Africa did not make it to the knockout stage, with the team failing to win any of their three league stage matches. They met the same fate next year as well with them winning one and losing two of their three league games.
However, the Proteas stepped it up in the 2014 edition and made it to the second semi-final, only to be beaten by England by 9 wickets. The team has failed to repeat its 2014 feat in the last two editions of the Women's T20 World Cup. That said, their performance improved in the last edition with them winning two and losing two out of their four league games.
South Africa have slipped down to the 6th spot in the revised T20I rankings with 6779 points and 242 ratings. They would expect their current form to help them when it matters the most.
Lizelle Lee is placed at the tenth spot in the T20I batters' rankings while Shabnim Ismail occupies the second spot among the bowlers. Dane van Niekerk is at the fifth place in the all-rounder rankings.
Dane van Niekerk - "For a tournament like a World Cup, you need momentum and you need a lot of it. As a captain, I’m just searching for momentum wherever we can get it and that started with the ICC Women’s Championship One-Day International series and then our warm-up matches. Hopefully our youngsters can cash in on the experience gained there and we can take the momentum straight into Australia.
"Many of our players have been successful in Australia in the Big Bash both last year and the year before, and I think that experience will benefit us as well. Everybody has done their homework and now it’s about going out there and representing our country with pride."
Prediction - Qualify for semi-finals, end at 2nd spot in Group B after league stage
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