Momentum Proteas return to international stage as they eye T20 series win in Antigua
The Momentum Proteas return to international action on Tuesday with a three-match women’s T20 against the West Indies and bowling spearhead Shabnim Ismail is happy with how the team’s preparations have gone in Antigua.
The SA senior women’s national team has been in St Johns for a week now and have had a good feel of the conditions at the Sir Viv Richards Cricket Ground.
The 32-year-old Cape Town born Ismail is fresh from her impressive showing in The Hundred tournament in the UK and was instrumental in the series wins over Pakistan and India early this year.
The team had sessions to acclimatise to the conditions and have been hard at work gearing up for the opening match which will be played at 8pm SA time.
“The preparations have gone really well for us, especially since our arrival here in Antigua,” said Ismail. “Yesterday we had a good middle session that gave us an indication as to how the pitches here will play and we came through that test well.
“Hopefully we can come into the T20 series and start well. It is always our goal as a team that we start on a good note because it is a short series, and we can get some confidence going into the ODI series that follows.”
The hosts have had a successful series wins over Pakistan and will look to defend their home turf against a South African side high in confidence.
Ismail said she had a look at the wicket and while she feels that it will be a tough one to bat on, she backed her teammates to come good.
“I saw the pitch yesterday and it looks like a good wicket that will offer a lot for our bowlers if we get our lengths right.
“Bowlers always have a role to play in T20 cricket and hopefully we can capitalise on that.
“Our batters have done well lately and I definitely see them adjusting well to these slow wickets we are expecting.”
Ahead of their trip to the Caribbean last week, the team welcomed back captain Dane van Niekerk, who makes a welcome return to the 18-player squad after recovering from the injury that kept her out of the series wins against Pakistan and India earlier this year.
Also making a return is all-rounder Chloe Tyron, who has also recovered from her injury.
Van Niekerk and Tyron gained invaluable match practice playing in The Hundred tournament and will be hoping to carry that same momentum into the national side.
The squad also features the North West Dragons duo of Masabata Klaas and Tazmin Brits after their impressive stints in Zimbabwe with the SA Women Emerging side.
The Proteas are in the Caribbean for a three-match T20 series which will be followed by a set of five ODIs.
Dane van Niekerk © (Eastern Province); Sune Luus (Northerns); Ayabonga Khaka (Central Gauteng Lions); Shabnim Ismail (KZN Coastal); Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province); Trisha Chetty (KZN Coastal); Sinalo Jafta (Western Province); Tasmin Britz (North West); Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province); Nondu Shangase (KZN Coastal); Lizelle Lee (North West); Nonkululeko Mlaba (KZN Coastal); Mignon du Preez (Northerns); Chloe Tryon (KZN Coastal); Nadine de Klerk (Western Province); Lara Goodall (Western Province); Tumi Sekhukhune (Central Gauteng Lions); Masabata Klaas (North West).