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Skipper promises to make SA proud as Proteas women perch on verge of history

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South Africa’s Sune Luus celebrates her 50 runs durinG the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 cricket match against Australia on 22 March 2022. Picture: John Cowpland, www.photosport.nz, BackpagePix

After fighting their way through much of this World Cup taking everyone on the most thrilling of roller-coaster rides, Luus and her team are on the brink of creating history.

Cape Town – “We have an opportunity to make South Africa extremely proud.”

This will be Proteas Women’s captain Suné Luus’ final message to her players before they take the field at the Hagley Oval on Thursday.

After fighting their way through much of this World Cup taking everyone on the most thrilling of roller-coaster rides, Luus and her team are on the brink of creating history.

No senior South African cricket team have qualified for an ICC World Cup final before. And now its only England that stand between them and their date with destiny in Thursday’s second semi-final.

ALSO READ: Heartache fuels Proteas ahead of Women’s World Cup semi-final

The importance of the occasion is certainly not lost on Luus and what victory will mean to not only the players and management group in New Zealand, but also everyone supporting her team back at home.

“I think probably there are going to be a couple of tears at the beginning of the game. It’s, obviously a massive opportunity to make history in South Africa and to change a lot of lives back home as well. And for us as players,” Luus said at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Proteas women’s team World Cup semi-finals history

“So obviously we’re very excited for tomorrow with some butterflies as well, but that’s something we’ll manage when the time comes.”

Often knockout matches of such high-intensity are engulfed by pressure moments with the stakes at its highest – like when England edged out South Africa by two wickets in an epic contest at the same stage five years ago in Bristol.

Luus claims her team “haven’t brought it (2017 semi-final defeat) up” because “we’ve become a way better team in the last five years” and that it is “definitely in the past”.

Instead, the skipper believes “its a whole new game and a whole new World Cup” and that “it’s just going to be who holds the nerves better tomorrow”. Crucially, she also wants her team to enjoy the occasion and not be weighed down by the nation’s expectations.

“We don’t have anything to lose tomorrow. We’ve never been in a final so there’s no real expectation. But obviously, it’s one of our dreams and we will work really hard towards it. But I think we need to enjoy it. It’s still a game of cricket and it’s still the game we love and tomorrow won’t be any different,” Luus said.

Likely Proteas team for Hagley Oval

South Africa: Lizelle Lee, Laura Woolvardt, Lara Goodall, Suné Luus (captain) m, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty (wk), Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka.

Start: 3am SA time; TV: SuperSport Grandstand

@ZaahierAdams

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