Dane van Niekerk will be at the helm of an experienced and dangerous-looking South Africa squad for the upcoming 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup to be held in Australia beginning on February 21. The team also sees the return of big-hitting allrounder Chloe Tryon who last played a T20I in May 2019.
The 15-member squad consists of a core group of players who were part of the 2018 edition of the tournament and have remained in the national set up since. As many as 11 of those players are set to take part in the 2020 edition as well; and eight members of the team have experience playing T20 cricket in Australia under their belts. Only four new faces – who could potentially make their World Cup debuts – have been included.
“It’s a group that has the talent, youth, experience and desire to help us win the T20 World Cup,” Hilton Moreeng, head coach of South Africa, said at the squad announcement in Johannesburg on Monday (January 13).
“We have assembled a team that we feel can hold their own against anyone in the world and it will be important that we carry that belief into the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. The players we have at our disposal are some of the best and most promising players in women’s cricket globally and we will make sure that we give them the best tools to succeed on this big stage.”
South Africa are placed in Group B alongside England, Pakistan, Thailand and West Indies. The players will fancy their chances and want to put in a much improved performance than the 2018 edition where they were knocked out in the group stage. Some of the senior players, including van Niekerk, Tryon, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez and Shabnim Ismail are coming off a good run of form in the recently concluded Women’s Big Bash League in Australia – something that will give confidence to the squad.
The WBBL group aside, the squad consists of a promising group of batters including Laura Wolvaardt – who put in splendid performances in the provincial T20 tournament – Sune Luus, and Nadine de Klerk. Trisha Chetty, the veteran wicket-keeper who had to miss the previous edition of the World Cup due to injury, will provide both stability and a settled look to the batting unit, allowing van Niekerk to potentially take her place at the top of the order.
As always, South Africa have stuck with a strong pace battery to be led by the fiery duo of Kapp and Ismail. They will be joined by Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klass, Tumi Sekhukhune and de Klerk. The spin contingent consists of van Niekerk, Luus, Nonkululeko Mlaba and Nondumiso Shangase.
Ahead of the mega event, South Africa head to New Zealand for a three-match ODI and five-match T20I series. The five T20Is will give them a clearer picture of how the squad has shaped up and what their best combination for the World Cup could be.
Squad: 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.