South Africa



Chances of Success Rating : 5.8/10 (5th)



Although women's cricket held quite a strong foothold in South Africa during the 1960s and 70s, it was not until well after the end of the sporting boycott in the 1990s that South Africa competed in their first World Cup - in India in 1997. Four years later, in 2000 (yes... the 2001 World Cup was actually held in December 2000 in New Zealand) they reached the semi-finals after a group-stage victory over England; but it proved to be something of a false-dawn, and the next three tournaments all ended in early baths for the South Africans.

The four years since their 6th-placed performance in 2013 have been transformational however, as a new sponsorship deal with financial services giant Momentum has allowed them to build a core professional setup which has propelled them into an expanded top tier of the women's game - no longer minnows, but genuinely competitive with all the top sides, recording ODI victories against all but Australia within the past two years, and even coming within inches of beating the Southern Stars in a dramatic last-ball tie in Coffs Harbour last November.

After missing out on direct qualification for the World Cup, South Africa cruised through the qualifying tournament, losing narrowly to India in the final, as Harmanpreet Kaur held her nerve to score eight off the final two balls for what had looked at one stage like an unlikely victory.

Although the official rankings might not necessarily reflect it, South Africa have a core of bowlers who would walk into any side in the world - Shabnim Ismail, one of the only women playing international cricket who can trouble a batsman with pace alone; Marizanne Kapp, probably the best "closer" in the women's game; and Sune Luus, the young leg-spinner with a deadly-smooth action, who at just 21 years old is already up to 35th in the list of leading ODI wicket-takers of all time.

South Africa's batting is a bit more hit and miss - literally on occasions. When the likes of Lizelle Lee, Dane van Niekerk and Trisha Chetty come-off, they can go big fast, but it doesn't happen perhaps quite as often as they'd like, which is why the emergence of the unflashy Laura Wolvaardt, who already has two international centuries to her name, as a "steady hand" at the top of the batting order could be very important.

The South African team which arrive in England are by no means favourites, but certainly have the ability to upset a few apple-carts, and if they reach the semi-finals... who knows!

Comments

  1. Good assessment I think. They're a decent side certainly, solid all-round and balanced, with the potential to beat anyone on their day. The main problem is one of consistency, particularly with the bat. They can be a bit inflexible if they misjudge the conditions, and are sometimes not pro-active enough with nudging quick singles around, always looking for the boundary. This is why accumulating players like Wolvaardt are a perfect fit for the side. Overall, a good chance of getting through, though maybe under 50%. Any injuries suffered will test their strength in depth.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Who will win WWC17?

Robinson keen for England to be tested

SEMI-FINAL MATCH REPORT: India v Australia