The South African Women's team, like their men's team, have been underachievers in the big tournament, qualifying to the knockout phase just once in seven attempts. Led by Dane van Niekerk, South Africa sure have a juicy line-up this time around. They may not be title-contenders but they sure can cause a few upsets and make the qualification to the next round.
Dane van Niekerk (c), Chloe Tryon (vc), Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nondumiso Shangase, Laura Wolvaardt
The South African batting line-up packs a reasonably good punch with Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus at the top of the order. With Chloe Tyron in good form from the Women's Big Bash League, where her strike rate was the best for batswomen in the season, they have a good finisher too. Batting floundering was one of South Africa's major concerns in World Cups, but this batting line-up sure seems capable of hurdling past this roadblock.
South Africa have serious concerns regarding their big players being fully fit for this tournament. Since the end of the last World Cup, they have seen bouts of injuries with senior players missing big games. How the likes of Van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp and Trisha Chetty adapt to the conditions on offer and refresh themselves after the injury breaks could decide South Africa's fate in the World Cup.
Sune Luus, the leg-spinning all-rounder, is revelling in her new role at the top of the order alongside Lizelle Lee. A century was followed by a haul 6-45 in New Zealand last month as the Proteas won the ODIs 3-0. Luus will be a key figure for the Proteas with her all-round capabilities this World Cup. Stepping up as skipper for Van Niekerk, Luus has become more responsible too as a player.
In six World Cup campaigns, South Africa have managed to get past the group stage just once. In 23 World T20 matches, they have won just eight to-date. That they lack confidence is certain. To what extent it will affect them this World Cup remains to be seen.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / ProteasWomen