Mali all set to get cracking
Border star bowler over the moon after she finally realises her Cup dream
Border women’s bowling star Zintle Mali is fired up and ready for her first T20 World Cup which gets under way in the West Indies on Friday.
The Proteas kick-off their campaign against Sri Lanka on Monday and Mali, who only made her debut in May earlier this year but has since made 14 appearances (six ODI and six T20I), is beyond excited for what should be her biggest challenge to date.
“I am very excited to be at the World Cup for the very first time in my life, it is really exciting, I have been working hard for this and I think I have reached my goal by getting here,” said Mali.
“I am comfortable in the set-up, I have gained a lot of experience playing 14 games for the team, so I am really excited to bring more of what I have already to the team in the World Cup.”
It has not been a smooth buildup to the competition, with the team losing both their unofficial warmup matches against England and India and then losing their first official warmup match against Pakistan.
Despite these setbacks the team should still be confident after impressing against defending T20 champions the West Indies in their most recent series, which they also played in the Caribbean, so by the time the World Cup gets under way they should be fully prepared.
Mali will also be well prepared after she played in four of the T20 matches, in a drawn 2-2 series and two of the ODIs in a drawn 1-1 series against the West Indies.
“Being here again is really exciting and I think things will be much easier for us as we were here on our most recent tour, so we know the conditions and what to expect and it was the perfect preparation,” admitted Mali.
“There were some hiccups in the series but we will take everything that we learnt in it into the World Cup.”
Mali is the only representative from Border in the Proteas women squad and would have played alongside former Border star Ayabonga Khaka (now playing for Gauteng), but she was unfortunately not considered for the competition due to a shoulder injury.
“I am very proud to be representing Border in the side, but the main focus is to represent my country and I am very proud of that,” said Mali.
“Ayabonga Khaka is the one that I grew up with and knows me better than anybody else, and I miss her a lot, I think things would have been easier if she was here with us.
“But I am learning a lot from my teammates, players like Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail have been great to me and I have been learning a lot from them.”
The team will now be eager to prove that last year’s performance in the 50-over World Cup was not a fluke, after they made the semifinals where they only just lost to eventual champions England.
“We definitely have a chance of winning the World Cup, we are a strong team with talented players,” said Mali.
“The mood in the camp is fantastic, we are relaxed, we are happy and we are looking forward to the competition.”..