Proteas searching for the ‘perfect game’ in T20 World Cup semi-final against England

South Africa captain Suné Luus in action during their ICC Women's T20 World Cup match against Australia at St Georges Park in Gqeberha. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

South Africa captain Suné Luus in action during their ICC Women's T20 World Cup match against Australia at St Georges Park in Gqeberha. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Published Feb 23, 2023


Cape Town — Newlands may have been the playground of many men, but since its inception it has been associated with influential women.

It was way back in 1845 that the title deed of where the famous ground is now situated was handed as a wedding present to a local brewer’s daughter Lydia Corrina.

There’s little doubt that Corrina will be looking down with great satisfaction on Friday afternoon at 3pm when the Proteas take centre stage against England in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final.

The significance of the occasion cannot be overstated. No South African team — male or female — had previously progressed to an ICC tournament semi-final on home soil.

The fact that it took the women’s team to smash the glass ceiling makes it even more remarkable.

But it doesn’t stop there. The challenge is now to go one step further to the promised lands of a final.

The task is almost insurmountable. England are former champions, have only lost one from five T20 World Cup semi-finals before, and are in red-hot form having posted a record highest score in their previous game.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Proteas have lost three semi-finals — two of the 50-over version and one in the shortest format — to Friday’s opponents.

Presented with all the facts at the pre-match media briefing, Proteas captain Sune Luus responded with a wry smile.

“Oh, that's great, there's no pressure on us then, then we can just go out, enjoy, and play cricket freely. Enjoy the moment, and try and do our best,” Luus chuckled.

“I think obviously we know the stakes. But I'm just very excited. It's the first time — a home semi-final — and it's the first time the crowd is going to be for us and not against us, so we’re just very excited and can't wait to take the field.”

For the Proteas to prevail they are going to have to raise their game — collectively and individually — in every aspect.

The bowlers, led by seamers Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp, will need to call on all their experience of playing in major finals abroad to keep the likes of run-machine Nat Sciver-Brunt in check.

The fielding, which is always controllable, needs all the players to put their bodies on the line, while the batters will have to shower greater intensity at the crease from the outset.

“I think that's the way we want to start with our attacking brand of cricket. That’s definitely how we want to start the game tomorrow.

“I think we're searching for that perfect game where all three aspects of the game click together and work together nicely

“I think that's definitely something we're going to be focused on for the batting to work, and for all those boxes to be ticked, in the bowling and fielding departments.”

Luus was part of the Proteas team that tripped and fell at the same stage of the last ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Sydney three years ago. It was a heartbreaking period for all involved with the tears flowing freely that night at the SCG.

It is these memories that Luus has called on to inspire her team on Friday.

“It is going to be a big occasion. But I think we've been on the wrong side of it too many times to know exactly what it feels like,” she said.

“We don't want to be there again so there is enough motivation for us to just go out and enjoy the game. We're just going to try and play our best cricket and try and enjoy the moment as well.”


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