The Proteas captain does not want her players to relax the grip they currently have over a young Irish team in the final One-Day International on Friday.
Johannesburg — Suné Luus does not want her players to relax the grip they currently have over a young Irish team in the final One-Day International on Friday, stressing the need to maintain momentum ahead of the Proteas tour to England.
There isn’t much time between the end of the Irish trip and the start of their long stay in England. The players will head across the Irish sea on Saturday, and from Tuesday, those selected for the historic Test match against the English, will play a three day warm-up match in Arundel in Sussex.
Cricket SA will name the Test squad and the ODI group on Saturday.
Luus has overseen a fine turnaround after a sluggish performance in the opening T20 match handed Ireland, who are missing several frontline players, a shock victory. They have dominated the home team since, with the bowlers in particular putting Gaby Lewis’s side under pressure.
“A cleansweep remains our goal,” Luus said on Thursday. “This is still an international match, we don’t want to take it lightly, there are still Women’s Championship points up for grabs.” Those points will determine the automatic qualifiers for the next World Cup, something the Proteas managed to achieve in the previous cycle.
Off the back of those fine performances by the bowlers, South Africa’s top order have dominated, with Lara Goodall taking several strides in securing her spot in the starting eleven, even when the star players like Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee and Dané van Niekerk are available. Nadine de Klerk with the ball and Andrie Steyn with the bat, have also given the selectors notice with some mature performances.
“They’ve grabbed the opportunity and taken responsibility in their roles. Players like that are still competing against the likes of Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee and it’s very difficult to always get that opportunity, but I think what they have done is put in the performances, and when the (senior) girls come back it will make it tough for the selectors to choose a side.”
Goodall is the leading run-scorer in the series with an aggregate of 125 runs, with Steyn second having scored 105 runs. Neither has an average for the series, because they haven’t been dismissed, something that has pleased Luus but also left her rueing a pre-series instruction.
“Ya, I’m regretting that,” she joked, about her demand to the top order to be ruthless. Luus and the rest of the middle order haven’t had a chance to bat since that first T20 match.
“I’m very pleased with how the top three is going about their business at the moment, they’ve been very clinical and I hope they take this confidence and form into the England series as well.”
Luus didn’t rule out making a couple of changes in personnel for the last match, although she re-emphasised the importance of the World Cup qualifying points. There are some doubts about Ayabonga Khaka, who didn’t complete her full spell in the second match on Tuesday, and she was going to be assessed at training on Thursday.
While Ireland haven’t been the strongest opponents, the match time the Proteas have gotten has been valuable and Luus said it would stand them in good stead as they move to England.
“England were runners up at the World Cup, so we know it will be a tougher series. But I think we have played enough cricket here, and we know what our goals are in England. It’s important to win (on Friday), take the positives out of this whole tour, and keep that momentum going into the England tour.”
Friday’s match starts at 11.45am SA time.
Ireland: Gaby Lewis (capt), Alana Dalzell, Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey, Sarah Forbes, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Sophie MacMahon, Jane Maguire, Kate McEvoy, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Celeste Raack, Mary Waldron
South Africa: Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Sune Luus (capt), Nonkululeko Mlaba, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Tumi Sekhukhune, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Delmi Tucker, Laura Wolvaardt