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Fast start is key

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“We speak about the trio a lot and we have prepared really well in South Africa, through to New Zealand and now here at the World Cup.”

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VETERAN Proteas fast bowler Shabnim Ismail believes that beating England on Sunday in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup opener will fill the squad with the confidence to go all the way.

The Proteas certainly have a stiff challenge in their tournament with England, who are also the 50-overs world champions, boasting a crackerjack squad.

But Ismail believes that the Proteas have prepared well to pull off what could be the first surprise of the tournament.

“We spoke about coming to the T20 World Cup for a long time and preparing well. We’re looking forward to that first game against England, getting the momentum on our side and going right through to the semi-finals and finals,” she said.

Ismail will certainly need to play a leading role against the English in Perth.

Long regarded as “the fastest bowler in the world”, Ismail forms part of a potent Proteas pace trio also consisting of Marizanne Kapp and Ayabongha Khaka.

They are all experienced campaigners and will relish being unleashed at the WACA – traditionally Australia’s fastest pitch.

Equally, after the last two T20 World Cups were held in the spin friendly conditions of India (2016) and West Indies (2018), they will have extra spring in their step on Sunday.

“Yes, the conditions are similar to South Africa,” Ismail said.

“We have pace in our team with myself, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabongha Khaka, so we really looking forward to getting a bowl over here,” Ismail said.

“We speak about the trio a lot and we have prepared really well in South Africa, through to New Zealand and now here at the World Cup.”

South Africa’s preparations for this T20 World Cup suffered a blip in New Zealand where Dané van Niekerk’s team went down to the White Ferns.

However, the Proteas were victorious in the ODIs.

The warm-ups have gone well this week in Adelaide with a victory over Sri Lanka before pushing hosts Australia close.

Ismail believes this has only given the Proteas greater belief they can achieve something special over the next couple of weeks.

“Yes, we did lose the T20 series but our confidence is still up. We feel that the momentum is still with us. All our preparation was geared towards building for this T20 World Cup and to do well here. It is all about how we perform our role and what we focus on,” Ismail added.