Cape Town - Following a competitive and action-packed One-Day International series between the two sides, the Proteas women are set to take on the touring Pakistan outfit in a five-match T20 series, getting underway on Wednesday in at Assupol Tuks Oval in Pretoria.
The recently concluded 50-over series ended one-all after Pakistan fought back to tie the deciding match, posting 265/9 in reply to South Africa’s first innings total of 265/6 in 50 their overs. Despite key performances stand-in captain, Suné Luus (80) and Masabata Klaas (3/55), the tourists stood up to the challenge, with Javeria Khan (74) and Aliya Riaz (71) playing crucial knocks to ensure a shared result.
Before looking ahead to the shorter format, Luus admitted her disappointment following the ODI series while crediting the subcontinent team’s resilience. She also praised her batters’ mettle after they produced four half-centuries in response to their below-par performance in the opening ODI defeat.
“It was not ideal,” she began. “We wanted to go into the T20s with good momentum but credit to Pakistan and the way they played and fought back, after being one-all. We gave a good contest and the positives we can take out of the three games, obviously, we didn’t do well in the first game, batting wise, but our batters came back well in the second and third games.
“That was brilliant to see and all of the batters have huge confidence going into the T20s,” she added.
In the T20 series and with a short turnaround between the two formats, South Africa will be looking to make minor tweaks in their game across all disciplines. Luus emphasised the importance of being on target from the very first ball, in a format she believes both the frontline bowlers and batters will play an important role.
“We sat down and spoke about what we can improve on from the ODIs with our bowling, batting and fielding as well,” Luus elaborated. “Looking at all three aspects, we just need to work on the small things. We can do better and going to the T20s, it’s a shorter format, we have to be on the money from ball one.
“Every bowler coming in, we have to hit the wicket, hitting our line and lengths, like we know we have to. From a batters’ perspective, it is going to be crucial for the top three batters to bat as long as they can,” she continued.
The upcoming series marks the latest phase of preparation for next year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, with South Africa keen to begin putting their plans in place for the global showpiece.
The tournament is just over ten months away and Luus is challenging her teammates to stake their claim in the team as they aim to use the series as a platform to evaluate different variations against a plucky Pakistan side – ranked seventh to the Proteas women’s sixth place in T20 cricket.
“We want to get that winning formula and combinations,” the 23-year old explained. “Going into these five T20s, it’s a good opportunity for us to experiment and to see more or less what the batting line-up will be like and who will bowl where. The World Cup is still a long way away and anything can happen between now and then.
“It’s a good opportunity for the girls to showcase their talent and put their hand up for the selectors to say that ‘We are here and we are ready for the World Cup’.”
The opening match of the series takes place at Tuks Oval on May 15 from 13h00 local time.
The whole T20 series between South Africa and Pakistan will be live streamed on the Cricket South Africa YouTube channel (here ). Regular updates will be available through Cricket South Africa’s platforms on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cricketsouthafrica ) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/officialcsa).
Proteas women’s T20 team
Suné Luus (captain, Northerns), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Lizelle Lee (North West), Tazmin Brits (North West), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Tumi Sekhukhune (North West), Masabata Klaas (North West), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Nadine De Klerk (Northens), Moseline Daniels (Border), Nondumiso Shangase (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Sinalo Jafta (wicket-keeper, North West) Zintle Mali (Border).