In the land of Joel Garner, Brian Lara, Vivian Richards, Sir Sobers, there will be big hits, massive scalps and big turnarounds as the Proteas arrive in the Caribbean to test their fire.
But even before a ball is bowled in this series, South Africa will be mindful of a stat that doesn’t particularly go down well on their exceptionally competitive playing standards. On two specific occasions in T20s have they been whitewashed by the Windies, starting first in 2009 and in 2013. But that said, they recovered well to go 2-1 up in 2015-16 T20s against a Windies left stunned.
Pitted to the West Indian might in the form of blazing hits and dazzle of Dottin, Stafanie, Aguilleira, Mathews and co., it’ll be a rewarding sight for the adoring fan to see if the South Africans can go northward in their attempt at stealing the Caribbean thunder.
Truth be told, both the West Indies and South Africa would consider themselves as fortunate to be playing against one another in the Caribbean.
In the form of 3 ODIs and 5 T20s, there’ll hardly be any dearth of necessary practice that one needs in order to acclimatize well to the conditions that’ll ultimately pose a staunch challenge to the rest of the teams for the ICC Women’s World T20, scheduled for November this year.
By the end of the first week of October, the rest of the women’s outfits would get to the see-by virtue of the outcome of this series- about just how tough or challenging is it going to be in the Caribbean as they descend for the mother of all sporting battles in T20 cricket.
While there’s been lots of ODI history between the two, specifically when it comes to the T20s, then South Africa hold the edge where the last bi-lateral series stands. In winning a crucial decider at Cape Town, 2016 upheld the Proteas flag that spoke to the skies as the Windies could only salvage a solitary victory in a 3-match series.
On the one hand, there’s going to be the spectacular dazzle of the South Africans, a team of useful all-rounders and measured markswomen in twin departments including Niekerk, Luus, Du Preez, Ismail, Kapp, Lizelle Lee, respectively. On the other, one will expect to see the quintessential display of Caribbean pomp, the adrenaline pumped by the big heaves of Dottin, Taylor, Mathews, a troika in whose hands rests the forte of their batting’s flair and the likes of Anisa Mohammed. Will one get to see Shakera Selman back with the ball in her hand, having last played in 2017? Only time will tell.
That said, which players hold the key for South Africa?
Right arm medium pacer Tumi may be an uncapped player when she proceeds to play her maiden contest, but even then, her contribution will be a key factor for a South African side that has rested its faith on the charisma of youngsters.
Among the three new picks for this series, for Tumi, this will be a mighty opportunity to cut her teeth in the highest annals of the competition, playing against the current T20 champs.
What can be a better way of getting inducted into the international game?
In the words of the National conveyor of selectors, Ms Clinton Du Preez, “Tumi has shown tremendous potential in a short span of time.” Can she make the ball do the talking, we will have to wait and see.
A clever, foxy leg spinning batswoman, one doesn’t quite know which Sune Luus will turn out in a contest. Will it be the explosive lower-middle order bat or the bowler that possesses the daring and guile to turn up the goods.
Luus was unbeaten at one end as South Africa scored a modest 125 in the deciding (3rd) T20 at Cape Town, batting first. Those were early days for arguably amongst the best all-rounders in the women’s game.
Having had 82 ODI wickets from 65 contests and 433 T20 runs so far, there’s not an area where Luus would appear lackluster. With 1 four-wicket haul as well as a five-for, there’s so much to look forward to in this workhorse of South African cricket.
Someone who had the hold on to an end well as brilliantly as resisting the free flow of runs, she contributes even when the wickets coloumn, runs dry, a facet that’s hardly recurring for this ever-smiling contestant.
Dane van Niekerk
The captain of the side will be aware of the team’s rather sedate run as seen thus far in 2018. Who knows whether the dampener of seeing India land back in the sub-continent but not before winning both ODIs and T20s might have healed or not?
As a batswoman who can turn into a gritty accumulator of runs, stoked by the adaptability to score heavily at daring strike rates, South Africa have in Niekerk, a wise cricketing brain who can hold the horses called free outflow of runs, with the white ball in her hand.
At times, she likes to draft herself up the order and often, when needed, she turns into the backbone of the lower order to deliver goods with the ball in hand.
This time, she’ll be aware of the rather lukewarm form Windies are in, having been trounced at New Zealand but with a feeling of being comfortable at home.
With a fantastic run in the recently concluded Kia Super League, the ever-dangerous batswoman Lee kicked up a lot of dust for her opponents in England. She will be expected to do the same, this time around too.
There are 2 ODI hundreds and 6 T20 fifties against her name. Probably time to put that impressive strike rate of 102 in the shortest format to some good measure and take the Proteas off to a flying start Lizelle!? What’s going to be interesting is if Laura can contribute too at the other end.
Mignon Du Preez
The simplicity, the calming presence and the appetite to fight it out through all the rigours; few contestants have gone on to epitomize the Proteas Fire the way Mignon, an experienced former captain has.
In 2013, her bat did all the talking in the 3 T20s wherein she scored most runs for her side against the Windies.
While the 2018 run has been reasonably good, this enthusiastic, tireless batswoman, someone who happens to be the highest T20 scorer for South Africa will look for soft spots to go through and turn around a corner or two in the Caribbean series.
Her team looks up to her for the experience and for vital runs in both formats where this middle-order batswoman seldom disappoints.
May that be the case this time around. A great series for Du Preez would be a massive high for what lies ahead: the ICC Women’s World T20.