Home Sport Cricket ‘Bristol tragedy’ was turning point for Proteas

‘Bristol tragedy’ was turning point for Proteas

Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt are reunited at the top of the Proteas Women’s batting order. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

The Proteas will take confidence from their victory over England at the T20 World Cup two years ago – the first time they overcame their rivals at a major ICC tournament.

Cape Town – The Proteas stumbled across the line against both Bangladesh and Pakistan, but they now face an entirely different prospect against England.

Heather Knight’s defending world champions boast some of the world’s most feared cricketers. Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver are ranked among the top 10 batters, while Sophie Ecclestone (2) and Katherine Brunt (9) lead the bowling attack.

They have won 29 of their 38 encounters against the Proteas, most importantly an epic semi-final in Bristol en route to lifting the trophy at Lord’s five years ago.

For South Africa, though, the Bristol tragedy was a seminal moment in their evolution from amateurs that merely enjoyed playing cricket as a hobby to full-blown professionalism.

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The Proteas are now an altogether different beast that has overtaken England to sit at No.2 behind Australia.

The Proteas are no longer the Cinderellas of world cricket and will take confidence from their victory over England at the T20 World Cup in Australia two years ago – the first time the Proteas overcame their rivals at a major ICC tournament.

But almost just to serve the Proteas a cold reminder of the royal hierarchy of women’s cricket, England registered a six-wicket rout of the Proteas in a warm-up game leading into this World Cup.

So, what can we expect when these sides lock horns under the lights at the Bay Oval?

The crucial element is that it’s England who are under the microscope.

The world champions are experiencing an Ashes hangover after suffering through a winless tour of Australia at the beginning of this year.

They have carried this wretched streak of results into the World Cup with Australia again and the in-form West Indies inflicting defeats that have left Knight’s charges needing to climb Mount Maunganui if they are to advance to the semi-finals.

A further defeat to the Proteas tomorrow could take qualification for the knockout stages out of their hands.

South Africa have no such pressures just yet. Their two victories have given them some breathing space.

A drawback is that they will know it was achieved against the two lowest ranked sides at the tournament. Equally, they were not completed with the conviction that befits a team that has ambitions to be crowned champions in Christchurch early next month.

South Africa’s Achilles heel has been the lack of solid starts which has tied up the remainder of the batting unit. This led to the impressive bowling unit needing to produce miracles later on.

But now that opening pair Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee have been reunited they will be hoping to rectify this against the likes of Brunt and Anna Shrubsole, who have the combined figures of 1/194 from 25 overs thus far.

Likely Proteas Women’s team to face England:

Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Lara Goodall/Tazmin Brits, Sune Luus (captain), Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty (wk), Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas.

Start: Monday 03:00, TV: SuperSport


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