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Proteas Women can leave nothing to chance

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The Proteas are ranked No.2 on the ICC’s ODI table – only below the tournament’s perennial favourites Australia.

THE PROTEAS Women’s team begin their quest to ultimately be crowned world champions on Saturday morning in Dunedin. At no time has any senior South African cricket team achieved this feat.

That is the sheer weight of history that Suné Luus and her team carry on their slight shoulders in New Zealand. Add in the expectation that this Class of 2022 has the potential to deliver the Holy Grail and the stakes are raised even higher.

This is not just patriotic optimism. Luus’s side are ranked No.2 on the ICC’s ODI table – only below the tournament’s perennial favourites Australia – justified by their sequence of five successive series wins over New Zealand (away), Pakistan (home), India (away) and West Indies (home and away).

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They boast a squad that is laden with talent – both bat and ball – which is currently at the peak of its powers. It is Bangladesh’s misfortune to be playing the Proteas on a day the Tigers are celebrating their World Cup debut.

In fact, just being at this World Cup is still a “dream come true”, according to Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana.

The gulf between the two teams is best illustrated in terms of Bangladesh having never played Australia, England or New Zealand in an ODI having merely “followed them on the TV and the internet”.

At least the Proteas are though familiar foes for Bangladesh. The two sides have been playing each other since 2012 with the Proteas winning all four series and limiting Bangladesh to just two victories across the 16 contests.

The expected result is another Proteas win, but five members of the current Proteas squad – Luus, Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kaap, will remember the day they were bundled for just 78 in Mirpur.

Coach Hilton Moreeng will not want a repeat and he knows it’s in hands that lay the responsibility for ensuring the Proteas stay calm and measured in their tournament opener to avoid any “surprises”.

LIKELY PROTEAS WOMEN’S TEAM FOR DUNEDIN

Laura Wolvaardt, Tazmin Britz, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus (captain), Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty (wk), Shabnim Ismail Ayabonga Khaka, Nonkululeko Mlaba

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