We take a look at the top five Proteas Women to watch ahead of the Women’s World Cup starting on 24 June.
Laura Wolvaardt – Matches: 18, Runs: 637, Ave: 42.46, 50s: 3 100s: 2, HS: 149
Tipped by her provincial coach, Cobus Roodt, as ‘phenomenal’, the 18-year-old opening batter has found her groove in the women’s side since making her debut in February 2016. She raced to 500 runs, racked up a half-century in her second match in the Proteas’ ODI series against England and has not looked back since, scoring consistently in every match. Her 105 against Ireland in August last year made her the youngest South African player (male or female) to score a national ton, at 17 years three months and 14 days.
Sune Luus – Matches: 50, Runs: 715, Ave: 23.83, 50s: 6, 100s: 0, HS: 83, Wickets: 69, Ave: 19.63, Econ: 4.33, BBI 6-36
The Proteas have found a new hero in Luus. Since her debut at the age of 16, the all-rounder played primarily as a bowler and took her first five-for in her 13th match. The leg-breaker continued to make steady strides with the ball, but it’s her improvement with the bat which has truly awoken the world-class player within. In the first ODI against Ireland in 2016, Luus put in a Player of the Match performance by scoring her first half-century, as well as taking her best bowling figures of 6-36, becoming the second player to score a half-century and take a five-for in a match. Her recent form was rewarded at the CSA Annual Awards where she picked up the Women’s Player of the Year and moved up to No 9 on the all-rounder rankings.
Chloe Tryon – Matches: 51, Runs: 837, Ave: 23.25, 50s: 5, 100s: 0, HS: 92
The 23-year-old has recently been selected as vice-captain and forms a vital part of the middle-over, where she’s used as a power hitter towards the back-end of the innings. Her Women’s Quadrangular Series match against India was a true reflection of the threat she poses, smashing a 39-ball 77 (five fours, six sixes) to set up a proud victory against one of South Africa’s toughest opposition. Her role will be vital in the Proteas’ World Cup campaign, as she aims to take the game away from opposition by clearing the fence.
Shabnim Ismail – Matches: 70, Wickets: 101, Ave: 19.67, Econ: 3.50, BBI 6-10
The Proteas speedster was nominated in 2015 for the South African Sportswoman of the Year at the South African Sports Awards, and has backed up this nomination by being a dominant bowler for the Proteas. She held the most wickets in ODIs for the Proteas women before Dane van Niekerk surpassed her. Coming back from a three-month suspension, which saw her miss the qualifiers, the 28-year-old was back to her wicket-taking ways in the Quadrangular Series against India, Ireland and Zimbabwe. She led the Proteas Women’s attack, to end as the leading wicket-taker in the series with 17 scalps @ 9.82, which included 5-25 against Zimbabwe in their opening match. Ismail will play a huge role up front in South Africa’s campaign in the World Cup.
Dane van Niekerk – Matches: 78, Runs: 1,347, Ave: 32.85, 50s: 4, HS: 81, Wickets: 105, Ave: 18.76, 5W: 3, BBI: 5-17
Coming back from a foot injury which saw her miss the Quadrangular Series, the Proteas skipper showed that she means business, scoring a half-century against Australia in a warm-up match on Tuesday, a side that’s won 12 matches and tied one against the Proteas. Van Niekerk will be vital to the Proteas’ success with both ball and bat, but it’s with the ball where she holds the most records. The leg-break bowler is currently South Africa’s all-time leading wicket-taker, and holds the record for being the first South African woman to take a hat-trick, which came against West Indies in 2014. As an all-rounder, she became the seventh player to reach 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets, during the 2017 World Cup qualifiers in February.