South Africa look to build on a good start, while Thailand aim to improve

Dane van Niekerk will look to continue her good form. © Getty Images

South Africa got the monkey off their back when they finally defeated England in their opening match of the T20 World Cup. Coming into the tournament there was a lot of chatter going around about how South Africa have under-performed in previous ICC events and how this could be their time in the sun. With a close win under their belts, South Africa have both confidence and form going into their next clash against Thailand which will take place on Friday (February 28).

South Africa ticked a majority of the boxes but what stood out was their ground fielding. Shabnim Ismail was particularly outstanding with two sharp catches on the boundary that made the difference in the end. The bowling too was good for South Africa as they restricted the powerful England line-up to just 123.

On the batting front, the promotion of Marizanne Kapp up the order worked well as she was the one who outscored Dane van Niekerk with a mature inning of 38, which allowed Chloe Tryon and Mignon du Preez to express themselves without any sort of pressure. Momentum is with South Africa and with a good couple of days off, they will be refreshed and ready to take on newbies Thailand.

“This year feels different. After the T20 World Cup in 2018, there was a lot of reflection and we felt as a batting unit we weren’t doing what we needed to do,” said Tryon. “We reflected a lot individually and knew what we had to change. We’ve worked hard in the off-season and playing in the Women’s Big Bash League has really helped some of the squad.”

After winning hearts with their smile and warm behaviour, Thailand have performed admirably in their first T20 World Cup game against West Indies. They showed fight and were exceptional in the field. A lot was expected of them against England, but they were thoroughly outplayed in all departments by a ruthless unit. Some missed opportunities and loose bowling would have certainly hurt Thailand. Barring Nattakan Chantham’s valiant knock of 31, Thailand had nothing to cheer about. 

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“We’re obviously very disappointed in our performance, we felt we could have done a lot better,” said Nattaya Boochatham ahead of the clash.

“We were very excited to get the chance to play against one of the world’s best teams but going into the South Africa game, we need to execute our plans more consistently and be more clinical on the field.”

Their first game was on the fast and bouncier surface in Perth and their next match was at Manuka Oval in Canberra, a slow and skiddy surface. Naturally, their batters and bowlers failed to adjust accordingly and they had to pay the price. The good news though for Thailand is their next game is at Manuka Oval and they would surely have taken a lot of lessons from the game will look to improve upon those.

“South Africa seem like the team with the best form in the group. Their batting unit is really aggressive, so we have to keep it tight and as we saw against England, anything loose will go for runs,” added the Thailand vice-captain.

On paper, South Africa are overwhelming favourites, but Thailand too can give a good fight if they adjust to the conditions well.  

Squads:

South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (c), Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Chloe Tryon (vc), Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Tumi Sekhukhune, Trisha Chetty, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Nadine de Klerk, Nondumiso Shangase.

Thailand: Sornnarin Tippoch (c), Nattaya Boochatham, Naruemol Chaiwai, Suleeporn Laomi, Nattakan Chantam, Chanida Sutthiruang, Soraya Lateh, Wongpaka Liengprasert, Nannapat Koncharoenkai, Ratanaporn Padunglerd, Rosenan Kanoh, Onnicha Kamchomphu, Phannita Maya, Thipatcha Puttawong, Suwanan Khiaoto.