Women’s World Cup: Proteas skipper wants more from her charges

South Africa

Sune Luus called on the Proteas top order to start racking up the runs when it matters after booking their place in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 semi-finals.

Rain washed out Thursday’s game against the West Indies in Wellington after the Proteas – put in to bat in a match reduced to just 26 overs – had reached 61 for four off 10.5 overs.

And that result officially fired Luus’s team into the semi-finals, hauling them up to nine points and second in the standings and leaving West Indies’ hopes of progression hanging in the balance.

South Africa’s bowling has been their principal asset throughout the tournament as leading batters Lizelle Lee, Tazmin Brits and Mignon du Preez – who did notch 38 not out against the Maroon Warriors – have struggled for form in New Zealand.

Luus urges Proteas to kick on

Captain Luus hailed Du Preez’s resilient innings at Basin Reserve but admits there’s more to be done if her team want to soar to their maiden ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup trophy.

The 26-year-old, who scored just one on Thursday but is her team’s second-highest run-scorer at the tournament, said: “There’s still a lot of batters who would be happy to get runs.

“Lizelle Lee at the top, and our No.3 spot as well. Our bowling keeps hitting their strides, and we pride ourselves on our fielding – so we would like to improve on [batting]. The way Mignon batted – she has been shy of runs in the competition and she needed that for her confidence.

“Everybody’s extremely excited and happy to be in the semis. With the rain today, it wasn’t ideal sitting around and waiting – it was not the best of starts but we still have to take the positives out of today.

“We are pretty pumped to be getting into that final – it has been a dream for us for so long, but we still need to get through the semi-finals. Needing to play England or India will be a tough game regardless and we need to get through that.

“We will take it game by game – we would keep with our momentum and a win on Sunday [against India] will help with that.”

The sodden Wellington forecast threw Thursday’s game into doubt but after eventually taking to the field in a game cut to 26 overs, the West Indies got off to a flyer.

Chinelle Henry (three for 19) and Shamilia Connell’s (one for 18) blistering new ball spells reduced South Africa to 22 for four before Du Preez led the recovery with a battling 38 not out.

Women’s World Cup history awaits

Marizanne Kapp (five not out) briefly joined her at the other end but with the Wellington rain persisting, the match was abandoned in a result that officially secured the Proteas’ semi-final spot.

West Indies now sit third but know their semi-final fate is out of their hands, fretting on the fortunes of India and England who can leapfrog them into the top four if they win their final matches against South Africa and Bangladesh respectively.

Skipper Stafanie Taylor said: “It’s not the way we would have liked, but we can’t do much about it and it’s something we can’t control. We were hoping that we would have had a game – but now, we will probably have some popcorn and hope that South Africa do beat India for us to give a chance.

“It’s something we can’t control but do hope it goes our way. If we go to the semis, you just have to go out and play, does not matter if it’s a niggle or an injury, you have to step up. It comes down to how badly you want it.”