Boosted by a dramatic win in the last ODI, the Proteas Women will go into today’s first T20 against India in Potchefstroom with confidence.
For four of the squad, at least, it will be a confidence enhanced by excellent performances in the latest Big Bash League, in which Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp played a major part in setting up the Sydney Sixers for a back-to-back victory in the league.
Van Niekerk leads the way after ending third on the WBBL wicket-taking log, her legspin capturing 20 wickets, with a best of 4-13 and an economy rate of 5.7. For much of the time, she topped the list, and may well have stayed there had she and her compatriots not returned early for the international series. Kathrine Brunt and Sarah Aley ended with 23 wickets, from 14 and 16 matches respectively.
While Kapp was not as prolific in wickets, taking 12, but she was the most economical on show, conceding just 4.7 an over throughout the series.
Lizelle Lee showed her power by slamming 17 sixes among her 349 runs (10th on the list) for Melbourne Stars, which gave her a strike rate of 111. Only Ashleigh Gardner struck more sixes (21) but she played two more matches.
Mignon du Preez, player of the match against India in the third ODI, ended the WBBL series with a strike rate of 112 for her 269 runs (21st), also with the Stars
The Proteas Women see this series as an important step on the road to the Women’s World T20 in the Caribbean in November.
‘The World T20 is the ultimate goal this year,’ Kapp said. ‘Now we start the building blocks towards taking the No 1 spot in the world. Every player in our team is capable and deserving of being here and plays an important role in the team’s success and we’re going to have to make sure that we get our combinations and balance right by the time we land in the West Indies.
‘The team enjoys T20 cricket, I’d say it’s our favourite format because we’re such a strong squad in this format. We have a lot of big hitters who can make a game really exciting and I still say we have one of the best bowling units in the world, so it’s really an exciting time for us.’
Play begins at 13:00 and along with the streaming service on YouTube.
Fixtures: 16 Feb: 2nd T20I, Buffalo Park, East London; 18: 3rd T20I Wanderers, Johannesburg; 21: 4th T20I SuperSport Park, Centurion; 24: 5th PPC Newlands, Cape Town.