South Africa is set to compete against the West Indies in a series featuring three ODI’s and five Twenty-20’s. The ODI’s are part of the ICC Women’s Championship, while the Twenty20s help South Africa prepare for the upcoming World T20, that will also be in the West Indies.
Seamers Marizanne Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka will play a crucial role in the side, especially in the absence of Shabnim Ismail. The West Indies are more of a batting side than a bowling one, so it will be imperative for South Africa to take early wickets and at regular intervals. These two bowlers can do that. Skipper Dane van Niekerk will also play an important role in not only leading her side but, with bat and ball as well. Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt at the top of the order will be very important for South Africa. They will be responsible for getting their team off to a good start and that is something those two can do well.
South Africa boasts some of the best bowlers in women’s cricket. Their pace attack consisting of Kapp, Khaka and Ismail has the ability to send shivers down the spine of any batter. Though they will be without Ismail, who had to withdraw her name at the last minute, the pace Kapp and Khaka, along with the leg-spin of van Niekerk and off-spin of Raisibe Ntozakhe will prove troublesome for the West Indians.
To go with their bowlers, they have two of the most destructive batters going around at the moment. Lizelle Lee and Chloe Tryon can hit the ball hard, long and far. Lee’s explosive batting at the top of the order and Tryon’s middle-order exploits will help boost South Africa’s score.
South Africa have had some trouble finding consistency in their performances. After getting off to strong starts, they have often suffered middle and lower order collapses. These collapses have resulted in them losing some matches they could have easily won, if they played more cautiously.
South Africa has lost their past two series. They lost 2-1 to India on home soil, then lost by the same margin to England when they toured there. In Twenty-20’s they had similar results, losing in the three Twenty-20’s played against India. In England, where they played in a tr-nation series featuring them, England and New Zealand, they managed to win just one match.
This tour is of immense importance to the South African squad, especially with the WT20 looming. This tour will give South Africa an upper hand as preparation for the WT20 as they can acclimatize to the conditions there and know what to expect when they return there for the tournament two months from now. It will also help the team identify their problem areas so they can work on improving them before the start of the tournament.
Another importance is that the for the ODI part of the tour, ICC Women’s Championship points will be up for grabs. These points help determine who will qualify for the next World Cup directly. Currently, South Africa sits second to last on the ladder, with only four points to their name so, they need wins in this series to earn more points and make their case for automatic qualification stronger.