Proteas Women take aim at first-ever World Cup final spot: ‘We’re a team to be reckoned with’

Suné Luus. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

  • Proteas Women captain Suné Luus believes they have a team to
    make the ICC Women’s World Cup final at last.
  • SA lost to hosts England in the semi-finals of the last
    edition in 2017 and exited the 2020 T20 World Cup at the same stage.
  • The tournament, held in New Zealand, runs from 4 March to 3
    April and features eight of the world’s best sides.

South Africa captain Suné Luus believes her team can take a
step further than the semi-finals at this year’s ICC Women’s World Cup starting
in New Zealand next month.

Proteas Women have never gone past the last four of the ODI
tournament since playing their first World Cup competition in 1997 and lost to England Women by just
two wickets at the last edition held in the UK in 2017.

Head coach Hilton Moreeng’s ladies also made the T20 World Cup semis in
Australia and again lost to the host nation in the last four.

READ | Proteas women and their World Cup date with destiny: 5 talking points

Luus wants her charges to rewrite this particular script.

“In the past, we have always been seen as the
underdogs, but I think we have shown in the last few years that we are a team
to be reckoned with,” Luus told the ICC.

“We have shown consistent performances in difficult
countries like India and the West Indies.

“We also had a great T20 World Cup two years ago in
Australia and turned some heads.

“I hope that we do the same this year and hopefully
reach that final that we’ve been missing out on, on three different
occasions.”

Despite losing regular skipper Dane van Niekerk to a left
ankle fracture weeks before the tournament, Luus reckons they have a strong
enough team to challenge for the world title.

South Africa came off a 2-1 one-day series win against West
Indies at home as they completed their fifth consecutive ODI series win.

They also boast batter Lizelle Lee who ended 2021 as the
highest run-scorer in women’s ODI cricket, scoring 632 runs in 12 matches at an
average of 90.28, getting named ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer-of-the-Year.

South Africa also boast three bowlers in the top 10 of the
ODI rankings: Shabnim Ismail (5th), all-rounder Marizanne Kapp (8th) and fast
bowler Ayabonga Khaka (7th).

“We have a strong squad with a combination of experienced
players and a couple of players who will be making their World Cup debut. This
is very exciting for us as a team,” said Luus.

“We are coming off an extremely good year, and I know
that the teams’ confidence is high.

“Around the same time in 2020, we played a series
against New Zealand on some of the same grounds we will be playing in this
tournament and were very successful.

“I am hoping that the preparation we had on that tour
and the knowledge we gained will play a huge role in this tournament.

“We have also just played the West Indies at home,
where we played a couple of games under lights. I think we’re also one of the
few teams who has played the most super overs in ODI’s. We couldn’t have asked
for better preparation.”

The tournament, which runs from 4 March to 3 April, features
eight of the world’s best sides who will vie for the most coveted piece of
silverware in the game. 

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