dane van niekerk

ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – NOVEMBER 02: South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk addresses the media during the South Africa Captain’s Arrival Press Conference ahead of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 tournament at Coolidge Cricket Ground on November 2, 2018 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo by Jan Kruger-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

ICC Women’s World T20: SA fixtures, star players and expectations

The ICC Women’s World T20 kicks off this week, and South Africa can be counted among the title hopefuls, thanks to their vast improvement in the last two years.

dane van niekerk

ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – NOVEMBER 02: South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk addresses the media during the South Africa Captain’s Arrival Press Conference ahead of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 tournament at Coolidge Cricket Ground on November 2, 2018 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo by Jan Kruger-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

South Africa’s national women’s cricket team is in the Caribbean for the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 hosted by defending champions West Indies – the first time the competition has been held as a standalone even without the men’s edition running alongside it.

The showpiece event – which kicks off on Friday, 9 November – features ten nations divided into two groups, with the top two teams from each progressing through to the semi-finals, which both take place on 22 November, with the last two set to battle it out two days later.

Kicking off proceedings on Friday are two title hopefuls in New Zealand and India, who are in action in the morning before the hosts tackle Bangladesh later in the evening.

ICC Women’s World T20 groups

Group A

  • West Indies (hosts)
  • Bangladesh
  • England
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka

Group B

  • Australia
  • India
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan

What to expect from the Proteas

(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

South Africa start their campaign next Monday against Sri Lanka, and will have some insider knowledge of local conditions, as they have recently tackled the Windies in their backyard in three ODIs and five T20 Internationals.

It was in the shortest format where the ladies in green underlined their vast improvement over the past year, as they bounced back from 2-0 down to square the series, with the third match washed out.

In a tough Group A, will have to complete at least one upset against one of England or the hosts to progress to the last four, and should fancy themselves against the former, given how they fared against them in the same conditions just two months ago.

Players to look out for

Dane van Niekerk

South Africa will be led in the tournament by the all-round talents of captain Dane van Niekerk, who possesses the X-factor with both bat and ball.

The 25-year-old was only available for the second T20 in the recent series against the West Indies, but finished the preceding 50-over series as top-scorer with 176 runs.

Laura Wolvaardt

KIMBERLEY, SOUTH AFRICA – OCTOBER 08: Laura Wolvaardt of South Africaduring the first Womens ODI Series match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Diamond Oval on October 08, 2016 in Kimberley, South Africa. (Photo by Louis Botha/Gallo Images)

Much of South Africa’s hopes with the bat will be pinned on the 19-year-old shoulders of opening bat Laura Wolvaardt, who is undoubtedly one of the superstars of the team.

Wolvaardt may be relatively new in T20 Internationals, but boasts an impressive record in ODIs, where she boasts an impressive average of 45.77 at the top of the order.

She has recently shown indication that she is taking to the shortest format, as her unbeaten 55 in the fourth T20 against the West Indies was instrumental to South Africa turning the series around.

Chloe Tryon

Quick runs are vital in the shortest format and, if you’re looking for someone who can clear the rope with ease, look no further than vice-captain Chloe Tyron.

The 24-year-old is among the more experienced members of the side, boasts an impressive strike rate of 142, and has an uncanny ability of taking the game away from the opposition.

Shabnim Ismail

On the bowling front, a lot will rest on the experienced Shabnim Ishmael, who is likely to take the new ball alongside another veteran in Marizanne Kapp.

Ismail is the highest-ranked South African woman in the T20 bowling charts and will be looking to give her side early impetus upfront at a lively pace.

South Africa’s fixtures in the WT20

v Sri Lanka, Saint Lucia – 12 November
v Windies, Saint Lucia – 14 November
v England, Saint Lucia – 16 November
v Bangladesh, Saint Lucia – 18 November

Squad

Dane Van Niekerk (c), Chloe Tryon (vc), Trisha Chetty (wk), Mosaline Daniels, Mignon Du Preez, Yolani Fourie, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kaap, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Zintle Mali, Robyn Searle, Tumi Sekhukhune, Laura Wolvaardt.