SA hope to keep writ­ing own script

Beat­ing Sri Lanka will help Du Preez and Co’s push for World Cup semis

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

NO AN­SWERS: JP Du­miny is out of form and out of luck. Here, Eng­land’s Stu­art Broad cel­e­brates tak­ing his wicket in the first in­nings of the re­cently com­pleted Lord’s Test.

IF SOUTH Africa needed any fur­ther wake-up call that the ICC Women’s World Cup has fast reached the busi­ness end, then a quick glance at the log will be a timely re­minder.

All eight teams have just two matches re­main­ing to qual­ify for the semi-fi­nals, with just one point sep­a­rat­ing the top five sides. Un­for­tu­nately, for the Proteas, they are the team in fifth po­si­tion, due to an in­fe­rior run-rate (+1.457) in com­par­i­son to fourth-placed New Zealand, who also have seven points but a run-rate of +2.301.

It seems likely that a cal­cu­la­tor may have to be hauled out to sep­a­rate the teams once all the matches are com­pleted on Satur­day.

But for South Africa still to be in con­tention come the weekend, they will first need to over­come a stiff Sri Lankan chal­lenge to­mor­row.

The sub­con­ti­nent side has not en­joyed suc­cess yet at this World Cup and will be des­per­ate to break their los­ing se­quence with a vic­tory over the Proteas.

Equally, al­though the team hasn’t fired as a col­lec­tive, Sri Lanka still boast in­di­vid­ual stars, such as Chamari Atha­p­aththu, who cracked the tour­na­ment’s high­est score of 178 not out against Aus­tralia.

“In a World Cup event we would never take any op­po­si­tion lightly,” for­mer cap­tain Mignon du Preez, cau­tioned.

“We’ve been beaten by them be­fore in an ICC tour­na­ment. We know we’ll have to bring our A-game when we play them.

“You can’t think that just be­cause a team hasn’t won a match yet, that you will get an easy win. This is a must­win game for us to make sure that we stay alive in the com­pe­ti­tion and reach the semis, which is our first goal.

“We’ll have a look at the op­po­si­tion of course, but we’ll spend most of our time on our game­plan and mak­ing sure that we ex­e­cute them to the best of our abil­ity come match day.”

South Africa have cer­tainly showed at this World Cup that they have the skills and tal­ent to com­pete – and beat – the very best. The pace bowlers have been im­pres­sive, while cap­tain and leg-spin­ner Dane van Niek­erk is the tour­na­ment’s lead­ing wicket-taker with nine scalps.

The bat­ting unit have also im­proved im­mea­sur­ably with block­bust­ing opener Lizelle Lee among the lead­ing run-scor­ers at the global jam­boree.

With all the bases seem­ingly cov­ered, South Africa’s push for the semi-fi­nals will likely be de­ter­mined by how the team copes with the in­evitable pres­sure. It was, there­fore, good to hear the team took a timely break from pro­ceed­ings yes­ter­day af­ter a lengthy bus ride from Le­ices­ter to Som­er­set. “We had a long travel day yes­ter­day,” Du Preez said. “It was good af­ter­wards for the girls to all get to­gether.

“We bought some snacks and had a bit of a movie night, watch­ing some come­dies at the ho­tel. It was good to get away from the game for a bit and not talk about the tour­na­ment or how the other teams are do­ing.”

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