A Proteas win over Lankans big part of T20 World Cup puzzle

Home batsmen need to come to the party in series decider

Proteas seamer Tumi Sekhukhune prepares for the final women’s Twenty20 cricket international against Sri Lanka to be played at Buffalo Park on Wednesday
THE HEAT IS ON: Proteas seamer Tumi Sekhukhune prepares for the final women’s Twenty20 cricket international against Sri Lanka to be played at Buffalo Park on Wednesday

Proteas women’s seamer Tumi Sekhukhune has emphasised the importance of a series win over Sri Lanka at Buffalo Park on Wednesday (6pm), saying it will be the final piece of the puzzle before September’s T20 Women's World Cup in Bangladesh.

The ongoing white-ball series against Sri Lanka is level at 1-1 and should the Proteas get one over the Sri Lankans at fortress Buffalo Park, it will mark the first T20 series win since Ireland in June 2022. 

That would do the last women’s T20 World Cup runners-up a world of good, said Sekhukhune, especially beating a subcontinent side in similar conditions to those they will face in Bangladesh. 

The Proteas women became the first SA team to make a senior ICC World Cup final but for six months they played no T20 matches until the historic tour of Pakistan. They then hosted New Zealand and Bangladesh before losing a series in Australia in January. 

Team coach Hilton Moreeng made it clear he was using the Sri Lanka series as a yardstick to see where the team was positioned. 

Over the past two games, he has tested new combinations in the batting and bowling departments.

The inability of the middle-order to contribute runs and to capitalise on the solid foundation set by the top order is among the top concerns and, no doubt, gives Moreeng sleepless nights ahead of the World Cup.

Marizanne Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt dominated in Benoni in the first T20 when the Proteas won comfortably, but there was nothing else from the remaining batters.

The issue haunted them in the second match as good starts with both bat and ball were wasted when SA suffered an eighth defeat in their last 14 T20 internationals. 

The tourists won by seven wickets in Potchefstroom on Saturday and Sekhukhune believes everyone has to step up with the willow if they are to be victorious in the decider.

“We have been working towards getting the score to 180-plus. We have also been talking about getting a few partnerships up front,” she said.

“The women’s game is headed in the right direction where everyone, even when on the sub-continent, can score 150-plus.

“It will be crucial to get the batting in order and get 180-plus consistently. If we do that, we can take that momentum to the World Cup.

“With sub-continent teams, we know they will come with spin, and we have to be able to play them very well.

“We always have good starts in the power play. We have two good batters that can go for it. It is high time that the middle order can chip in some runs. That is something that we have been working on with the batting coach.

“We have experienced players who can take the game away. It is a matter of time until they get their confidence going.” 

The Proteas will be boosted by the experienced services of skipper Wolvaardt, who forms a big part in the makeup of the team in terms of leadership.

Wolvaardt, who scored a century in Benoni, trained with the squad in their morning session at Buffalo Park on Tuesday after she missed the second T20 due to illness. 





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