Home Sport Cricket Batters need to step up says Proteas bowling hero Shabnim Ismail

Batters need to step up says Proteas bowling hero Shabnim Ismail

Proteas fat bowler Shabnim Ismail and teammates celebrate their victory Women’s Cricket World Cup win over Pakistan. Picture: Marty Melville/AFP

Proteas captain Sune Luus believes there is a silver lining to their stuttering performances as her team are now hardened tournament competitors after two pressure-filled World Cup contests.

Cape Town – “I think the batters need to put their heads down and bat.”

That was Shabnim Ismail’s stone cold message to her teammates after she held her nerve in a tense final over to close out South Africa’s six- run victory over Pakistan in their second World Cup group match at the Bay Oval on Friday.

It was the second consecutive week that the bowling unit, led superbly by Ismail’s 3/41, had to bail out the batters after another below-par total.

South Africa managed just 223/9, courtesy of half-centuries from Laura Wolvaardt (75) and captain Sune Luus (61), while there were also breezy cameos from Chloe Tryon (31) and Trisha Chetty (31) lower down the order.

It was though once again not an entirely convincing batting performance with the Proteas reeling at 21/2 at the beginning before another middle-order collapse saw them on the edge at 120/5.

Proteas captain Sune Luus believes there is silver lining to it all as her team are now hardened tournament competitors after two pressure-filled contests.

“It is nerve-wracking,” she admitted. “No game is an easy game. But it is encouraging to see we can still get over the line. These two games are out of the way and we need to look at what we need to improve on,” Luus said.

Furthermore, Luus believes the nature of the contests have allowed different individuals to put up their hands after Ayabonga Khaka previously claimed the Player of the Match against Bangladesh for her four-wicket haul.

“I know there’s a lot of people saying that South Africa and Australia should play the finals but we don’t pay attention to that,” she said.

“Good to see different players are coming to the party. Ismail was clinical and Chetty was good with the bat.”

Ismail, though, was always going to take on the responsibility of closing out the game with just nine runs to defend, especially after a quiet game last week.

The veteran fast bowler relishes the big moments and showed that she does indeed have ice running through her veins by running to mid-wicket to claim a brilliant overhead catch off her own bowling to dismiss the dangerous Diana Baig.

“As a strike bowler, I like to come out at the death. I told Sune that I would bowl two at the death. I love catches, that catch was 100% mine,” Ismail said.

If only the batters could exude similar confidence and the Proteas may once again be viewed as genuine contenders for this World Cup.


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