Pretoria [South Africa]: After a competitive One-Day International series between the two teams, the Proteas women are set to take on the touring Pakistan outfit in a five-match T20 series, getting underway on Wednesday at Assupol Tuks Oval in Pretoria.
The recently-concluded ICC Women’s Championship (IWC) ended one-all as Pakistan fought back to tie the deciding match, posting 265/9 in reply to South Africa’s total of 265/6 in their 50 overs quota. Despite key performances from stand-in captain Sune Luus (80 off 84 balls) and Masabata Klaas (3/55), the tourists stood up to the challenge with Javeria Khan (74 off 103 balls) and Aliya Riaz (71 from 82 balls) playing crucial knocks to ensure a shared result.
Luus admitted her disappointment following the ODI series while credited the subcontinent team’s resilience. She also praised her batters’ mettle after they produced four half-centuries in response to their below-par performance in the opening ODI defeat.
“It was not ideal. We wanted to go into the T20Is with good momentum but credit to Pakistan and the way they played and fought back, after being one-all. We have a good contest and the positives we can take out of the three games, obviously, we didn’t do well in the first game, batting wise, but our batters came back well in the second and third games. That was brilliant to see and all of the batters have huge confidence going into the T20s,” Luus said.
South Africa will be looking to make minor tweaks in their game across all disciplines. Luus emphasised the importance of being on target from the very first ball, in a format she believes both the frontline bowlers and batters will play an important role.
“We sat down and spoke about what we can improve on from the ODIs with our bowling, batting, and fielding as well. Looking at all three aspects, we just need to work on small things. We can do better and going to the T20Is, it’s a shorter format, we have to be on the money from ball one. Every bowler coming in, we have to hit the wicket, hitting our line and lengths, like we know we have to. From a batters’ perspective, it is going to be crucial for the top three batters to bat as long as they can,” Luus said.
The T20I series marks the phase of preparation for next year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, with South Africa keen to put their plans in place for the global showpiece. The tournament is just over ten months away and Luus is challenging her teammates to stake their claim in the team as they aim to use the series as a platform to evaluate different variations against a plucky Pakistan team – ranked seventh to the Proteas’ sixth place in the format.
“We want to get that winning formula and combinations. Going into these five T20Is, it’s a good opportunity for us to experiment and to see more or less what the batting line-up will be like and who will bowl where. The World Cup is still a long way away and anything can happen between now and then. It’s a good opportunity for the girls to showcase their talent and put their hand up for the selectors to say that ‘We are here and we are ready for the World Cup’,” she added.