The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 begins on March 4 in New Zealand. The showpiece event will see eight teams compete for the coveted trophy, with the final scheduled to take place on April 3 in Christchurch. England are the defending champions, having won the World Cup 2017 at home.
South Africa will begin their campaign on March 5 against Bangladesh at the University Oval in Dunedin. South Africa will be fielding a balanced side for the competition as they chase their first world title. Sune Luus has been handed the responsibility of leading the side in the absence of Dane van Niekerk, who will miss the competition due to an ankle injury.
Ahead of the South African Women’s opening game, here's a look at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the Proteas’ side.
The Proteas are a batting-heavy side. The batting order comprises Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Sune Luus and Lizelle Lee. They have plenty of experience under their belt and it will come in handy while facing the top sides in the World Cup.
Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp will lead the pace-bowling attack. They have been sensational in white-ball cricket in recent times and will continue to play a vital role for the side. Ismail bowls with sheer pace and her ability to pick up wickets upfront will be crucial in the bowling-friendly conditions of New Zealand.
The absence of Dane van Niekerk will hurt South Africa in the long run as she has been leading the side for the past few years. Her experience of playing in different leagues around the world will be missed by the Proteas’ side.
South African Women have so far lost both their warm-up games. They have failed to hold their nerves in crunch situations and need something special to get back to winning ways. The Proteas' record in ICC events is a bit of a worry for them ahead of the competition.
Experienced all-rounder Sune Luus will be eager to lead the Proteas by example and guide them to their first title. This will be a big opportunity for her to lead her national side in an ICC event.
Ayabonga Khaka and Shabnim Ismail were brilliant in the recently-concluded limited-overs series against West Indies Women. They bowled well with the new ball and will be looking to carry their form forward in the showpiece event.
The South African side lacks an experienced spinner. Dane van Niekerk was fantastic for them with her leg-spin over the past few years but her absence will hurt them in the World Cup. South African bowlers face a big test and need to be disciplined with their lines and lengths in the middle overs.
The pacers need to bowl well and pick up wickets upfront. If the opposition manages to see off the new ball, it will be a challenge for the Proteas to create in-roads in the middle overs. An over-reliance on their pacers might hamper their chances of lifting their first title.
South Africa Women Squad
Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus (c), Chloe Tryon, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Sinalo Jafta, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Shabnim Ismail, Tumi Sekhukhune
South Africa Women Fixtures
March 5, 2022 - South Africa Women vs Bangladesh Women
March 11, 2022- South Africa Women vs Pakistan Women
March 14, 2022 - South Africa Women vs England Women
March 17, 2022 - South Africa Women vs New Zealand Women
March 22, 2022 - South Africa Women vs Australia Women
March 24, 2022 - South Africa Women vs West Indies Women
March 27, 2022 - South Africa Women vs India Women
South Africa Women Predicted XI
Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Sune Luus (c), Chloe Tryon, Tazmin Britts (wk), Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune
Poll : Will South Africa win the Women's World Cup 2022?