Proteas ready to tackle Pakistan


Consistency is the name of the game for South Africa if they are to achieve their goal of claiming a maiden World Cup title according to captain Dane van Niekerk.

In Marizanne Kapp, South Africa has the world’s top-ranked bowler, while Van Niekerk and Sune Luus provide some quality spin options.

The onus will be on the batsman to match that bowling attack, but if they can, South Africa will be a formidable opponent, starting against Pakistan in Leicester on Sunday.

Van Niekerk said: “We have a great bowling attack, with the best bowler in the world in our team. That’s one thing we really pride ourselves on, and then we’ve got a really explosive batting order. We’re not as consistent as we want to be but I think it’s due for us to come off.

“We want to take every game as it comes and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We know Pakistan is a really fearless team, we know they will bring their A game. We will make our plans and play according to our brand of cricket.

“We just want to play fearless cricket and back ourselves. We know the talent we have in the squad and what we need is that belief. Our hashtag is Always Rising and that’s what we want to do, to get better every day, and hopefully that’s the type of brand we can portray.”

Pakistan hosted South Africa in Sharjah in March 2015 in the ICC Women’s Championship fixture and South Africa came from behind to claim a 2-1 series victory. Van Niekerk’s girls were also victorious over Pakistan by 63 runs in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Colombo, Sri Lanka, earlier this year.

Both sides are looking to close the gap to the top sides in the world, and the ICC Women’s Championship has unquestionably helped in that regard, as Pakistan captain Sana Mir explained.

“Especially for Pakistan (the ICC Women’s Championship) has been very helpful, because of the lack of international cricket back home and not getting a lot of fixtures,” said Sana.

“I think this championship has given us a good number of matches compared to the previous 10 years before the championship so we’ve played more cricket in the last two years than we had ever played before. So it has helped us develop as a team and as players.

“The first game is always very important in any tournament. We are going to take it game by game. We are really looking forward to having a good start, we have prepared well and we back the way we have prepared for this tournament and the process we have been through.

“So we’re looking forward to the first game and trying to get a good result out of it,” she concluded.

Four years ago, these two teams met in the final match of the group stages in a winner-takes-all clash. On that occasion South Africa emerged victorious, claiming a 126-run win thanks to a fine all-round effort by Kapp.

Pakistan will be only too aware of the threat posed by the 27-year-old, but having seen the men’s side upset the odds to claim ICC Champions Trophy glory, Sana’s squad is looking to do the same.

Squads (to be selected from):

Pakistan: Sana Mir (captain), Asmavia Iqbal, Ayesha Zafar, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Kainat Imtiaz, Marina Iqbal, Nahida Khan, Nain Abidi, Nashra Sandhu, Sadia Yousuf, Sidra Nawaz and Waheeda Akhtar

South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (captain), Trisha Chetty, Moseline Daniels, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Shabnim Ismail, Nadine de Klerk, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Raisibe Ntozhake, Mignon du Preez, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon and Laura Wolfvaardt.

Umpires – S. Saikat and Langton Rusere