SA are about to mount another bid to win their first Women’s Cricket World Cup after falling at the semifinal stage against hosts and eventual winners England in the last edition of the tournament five years ago.
The Momentum Proteas have been in fine form leading up to the World Cup as they racked up five successive ODI series wins that culminated in a 2-1 series triumph against a strong West Indies side in Johannesburg before they travelled to New Zealand.
The team was based in Christchurch and lost two warm-up games against India and England.
They moved to Dunedin and will play their World Cup opening match there against Bangladesh on Saturday.
“Overall, where we are now as a squad and going into our first match, a change of scenery and a change of venue will do us good,” SA’s long-serving coach Hilton Moreeng said from the team’s camp.
“We know now that we need to make sure in every game we pull everything together.”
The team arrived in New Zealand and settled in a managed isolation and quarantine facility used to house everyone arriving in the country for 10 days.
They were then allowed to train as a team and have middle sessions and warm-up games.
Moreeng said the defeats to India and England in their warm-up matches are inconsequential as the objective was to allow all the players to have time on their feet in the middle.
“Players needed time in the middle and we are very happy with the two opportunities to rotate the squad and give everyone a chance,” he said.
“It has given us good feedback regarding where we are as a squad before our first official game.”
While SA are a regular feature in 50-over World Cup tournaments, Bangladesh will play in the tournament for the first time. Moreeng said the team has studied their opponents and will not be taking them lightly.
“They normally pride themselves with their spinners. It is a team that has been improving and you always keep tabs on teams like Bangladesh.
“We have a lot of cricketers now playing around the world and who watch a lot of cricket. Also, us as the coaching staff, we sit and watch these games to see what is new and what the other teams are doing differently and try to get as much information as possible so that you don’t get any surprises.
“Regarding preparation, we are happy with what we have seen and we know it is going to be a challenging tournament.”
The tournament will be played in a league format in which all eight teams will face each other once. The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals.
After Bangladesh, SA play Pakistan in Mount Maunganui [March 11], England [March 14], New Zealand [March 17], Australia [March 22], West Indies [March 24] and India [March 28].
“It’s a first World Cup for a couple of players and the nerves will be there because you are representing your country on the biggest stage in world cricket,” Moreeng said.
Momentum Proteas 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup squad:
Suné Luus (capt, Titans Ladies), Chloé Tryon (vice-capt, KZN Coastal), Ayabonga Khaka (Lions), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Lizelle Lee (Dragons), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Masabata Klaas (Dragons), Mignon du Preez (Titans Ladies), Nonkululeko Mlaba (KZN Coastal), Shabnim Ismail (KZN Coastal), Sinalo Jafta (Western Province), Tazmin Brits (Dragons), Trisha Chetty (KZN Coastal), Tumi Sekhukhune (Lions).
Andrie Steyn (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Nadine de Klerk (Western Province), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Lions).