The sprawling beaches, sandy tropical heat, the bustle and vibe amid which one finds the pleasure to discover the sweet spots of the bat, and the crackling sound of displacing the timber with the roaring support of the crowd behind.
Few places can be as interesting for playing cricket as the Caribbean.
On the outset, it may seem South Africa vs West Indies. But look deeper; probe a bit more.
In a template that favours thrills and daring it’s combat mode between the spark of the Proteas fire and the hosts doing what they do best: Rally around the West Indies.
Now that South Africa have arrived in the Caribbean, they’ll want their hosts to remember that they were here not for a touristy trip. On the other hand, the West Indies will look to resort to the zing and dash of a playing style that’s rightly called Calypso.
Where their individual forms stand then South Africa would be keen to carry forward some positives from not the most productive tour in England into this series. Marizanne Kapp was steady as ever and Shabnim Ismail was a scorcher with the ball, by her usual standards. Though, it’ll be a shame that she’s been ruled out from the Proteas squad. One might miss the tussle between the bat and the ball with the possibility of the latter doing all the talking if in Ismail’s hands.
Nonetheless, Marizanne Kapp would remember her vital 2-for 48 at Hove and would look to spearhead the Proteas attack.
While it isn’t always that the wickets coloumn for captain Dane Van Niekerk runs dry, she’d remember how brilliantly she made up as the batswoman in charge of the victorious game at Worcester, batting alongside Mignon Du Preez, the standard bearer for Proteas excellence, with the duo taking their team over the rope.
But in what turned out to be a massive series for ‘in-form’ Lizelle Lee, who, at the back of knocks like 117, immediately after having struck an unbeaten 92, would be keen to carry that ballsy form versus the Windies.
Stafanie Taylor, one of the few West Indies players who plated at the Kia Super League would be cautious of advising her bowlers to not pitch it up at either Lee or Woolvardt. Containing runs the top order will be the key for both sides, especially where T20s are concerned.
At the same time, she’d remember how badly the White Ferns hammered her side when they went to New Zealand, where the Ferns seemed more of cactuses to a side that seemed unprepared in every possible way, their woes exacerbated by the lack of them coming together as a team.
On pure might, it seems the often batting-reliant Windies will be against a balanced South African unit that’s also expected to make uncapped Tumi Sekhukhune play come the first game, that stands just a few hours away.
The likes of Dottin, Aguilleira, Mathews, and Taylor would be expected to get the runs rolling and the sooner they come the better. Anisa Mohammed, a legend in her right would look to seek support from her captain, a handy exponent of medium-fast bowling and would get a lot of confidence to see Shamilia Connell and Cheadon Nation around who can contribute usefully from the ball.
So even before the entirety of the participating teams get to set a foot in the Caribbean, for contesting in the mother of all sporting battles, ICC Women’s World T20, South Africa and West Indies are getting a chance to lock horns in an interesting series that will test how resourceful their limited overs game is.
And above anything, both sides will be curious to know just how well-placed do they stand where it comes to contesting in the much-important World T20.