Proteas captain Sune Luus believes her team will have to be at their best to beat England in the Women’s World Cup semi-final in Christchurch on Thursday.
The match will start at 3am (SA time) and be broadcast on SuperSport Grandstand.
The Proteas wrapped up their league-stage campaign with a hard-fought three-wicket victory over India. Mignon du Preez (52*) survived a no-ball dismissal with three balls remaining before hitting the winning runs off the last ball.
“It has become a team effort,” Luus said when asked about the Proteas having made a habit of coming out on top in close encounters and making the right decisions under pressure.
“Everybody is stepping up at the right times and everyone has been taking responsibility when they are out there in the middle and they have to do a job. That’s been our biggest thing.
“Normally we would kind of just give up, but over the past few years we have shown the fight, we have shown the character and the biggest thing for us is people taking responsibility for what they are doing.
“Like the other night, Mignon was there and knew she had to take it as deep as possible, she took that responsibility on herself to take us as deep and get us over the line.”
Thursday’s semi-final will be a repeat of the 2017 World Cup semi in Bristol, which England won by two wickets.
When the sides met earlier in this year’s tournament, South Africa clinched a confidence-boosting three-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
“That was an extremely good game for us,” said Luus. “I felt England played well, too, so I don’t think tomorrow is going to be any different, they are obviously going to bring their A game and we just need to be extremely clinical.
“They have obviously had the experience of playing in semi-finals and playing against us in the semi-final as well, so tomorrow will just be about who is at their best for longer periods of time and who can stay focused for longer.
“We haven’t brought that [2017 semi-final] up. That was five years ago, teams have changed, and players have grown a lot since that semi-final. We are a way better team in the past five years, so that’s in the past and we are looking to tomorrow as a whole new game, in a whole new World Cup.”
Heading into the clash, the Proteas will take comfort in having key players playing their best cricket.
Opening batter Laura Wolvaardt leads the run-scorers list with 433 in seven matches at an average of 61.85 and five half-centuries, which helped her soar to the top of the ICC ODI women’s rankings.
Fiery fast bowler Shabnim Ismail sits second on the wicket-takers list with 11 and a best of 3-15 after coming off an impressive outing against India, where she recorded figures of 2-11 in her last seven overs of the match.
The semi-final against England will also mark a special occasion for Luus and top-order batter Lizelle Lee. Both are set to earn their 100th ODI cap for South Africa.