2 T20s remain in the ongoing South Africa versus Windies series with Anisa Mohammed in menacing form with the ball as her colleagues- Natasha McLean and Shamilia Connell are curbing the scoring rates; what can South Africa possibly do?
A fortnight ago, the Proteas women touched down the Caribbean with a lot of enterprising features about their game. For starters, not one but three new youngsters were set to make their debut. All their leading star-cast were set to contest in what was believed to be a hard-fought series.
Who’d take the Proteas Women lightly when you have names like Mignon, Niekerk, Kapp, Tryon, Lee, Luus together?
Their confidence was bolstered by the fact that Marizanne Kapp had been in great form with the ball all summer. Lizelle Lee had blasted a sublime century in the Kia League and promised dashing stuff with the bat.
It was under the captaincy of Dane Van Niekerk that they had massacred the Windies in the ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017. So, they weren’t mistaken to presume they’d turn around a corner in the Caribbean.
Except the only thing is, it’s the Windies who have turned around the series. They were undefeated in the ODIs and now, having gone 2-0 up in the T20 series, stand at the precipice of securing what’ll eventually be a comprehensive series in the shortest format.
So, were the Proteas Women anticipating such a feisty competition from the Windies? What really happened? They forgot playing a sport they’ve so utterly dominated?
The ensuing saga surrounding the Proteas women seems like the plight of a forgetful individual who’s sat down for a Spelling Bee. There’s no other way you would describe what’s, thus far, been such a downer?
What’s most perplexing about South Africa’s condition is that three games into the T20s, not a single fifty has been struck by their opponents. But what would bother South Africa the most is that their batswomen have replicated that effort.
In a series where the highest team total from a total of 80 overs from the 2 contests has been a paltry 124, one wonders where have the runs dried up?
In fact, what should worry the Proteas more?
Should they be surprised that they haven’t been able to counter the Windies especially where Dottin has made 22, Stefanie’s top-scored with 35 or should they be bothered that in one of the contests of the 5-match series, 4 of their batswomen contributed a duck?
The bright spots, if at all, there are any, are in the form of Niekerk and Mignon being in some form with the bat.
Had Niekerk and Mignon not stitched a valuable middle-over stand in the 2nd T20, one wonders how many would’ve South Africa eventually managed in their disconsolate 101.
That’s a score that most players chase in a friendly PlayStation outing on a weekend with beer for company.
Could it be that the team selection has hurt the Proteas?
The right combination is imperative for a team’s win. Even more so in a T20, a format so reliant on batswomen. Why was Laura Woolvardt dropped from just 1 game, one doesn’t quite know.
Should she have been persisted with and instead, Lizelle Lee- 0 and 1, so far- could’ve been rested?
A similar conundrum surrounds Sune Luus, who wasn’t surprisingly included in the first T20. Why was that, one doesn’t quite know.
With the 3rd T20 washed out and 2 more contests to go, one wonders what might South Africa do differently.
Maybe try Marizanne Kapp at one-down? The seamer scored 14 off 8 in the 2nd T20, right after 30 of 22 in the maiden game.
Whatever it is, it appears that someone from South Africa has to play a blinder for the time to forge a comeback is less and the momentum heavily stacked against their favour.