Proteas have a new ‘Luus’ on life
As they build to semi-final, SA women believe they can stun hosts England
SILVERSTONE: Lewis Hamilton won his home British Grand Prix for the fourth year in a row yesterday while a penultimatelap puncture slashed Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead to a single point.
The Briton’s drive from pole to flag on an overcast afternoon was lonely, uneventful and dominant with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing 14 seconds behind to secure the one-two.
“The support has been incredible this weekend. I am so proud I could do this for you all,” said Hamilton, who threw himself into the fans for some ‘crowd surfing’ after the podium celebrations.
“The team were faultless this weekend, Valtteri did an incredible job as well so it’s the perfect weekend for us.”
Far behind in his wake, as Hamilton cruised to a 57th career win and soaked up the applause from an army of flag-waving fans, came sudden drama.
Vettel, who had battled on worn tyres but looked like securing the final podium position until the blowout, finished seventh after an emergency pit stop with a shower of sparks from the wheel rim.
“There was no sign of that happening,” said Vettel over the team radio. “There were vibrations but I had it for 20 laps and it didn’t get massively worse. The tyres didn’t look great but they never look great.”
The German’s Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who had been second before also being hit with a late puncture that sent Bottas and Vettel ahead of him, took third.
At the halfway stage of the 20-race season, Vettel has 177 points to Hamilton’s 176 with Bottas on 154.
Hungary, a circuit where the Briton has won five times before, is next up.
Hamilton became only the third driver, after his late compatriot Jim Clark and Frenchman Alain Prost, to win the British Grand Prix five times and the first to take four successive victories at Silverstone.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished fourth, ending a run of retirements, with Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo fifth after fighting through the field.
Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault and Force India pairing Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were eighth and ninth with Brazilian Felipe Massa securing the final point for Williams.
Jolyon Palmer’s miserable run continued, with Britain’s only other driver on the grid failing to make the start after his Renault broke down on the formation lap with a brake failure.
That forced an aborted start, with the field doing another formation lap before the lights went out and Hamilton made a clean getaway.
The Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat collided on lap two, with the Spaniard shunted out and the safety car making an appearance for three laps.
Kvyat, who has been involved in a series of incidents of late, looked at fault and was given a drivethrough penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe fashion.
With Hamilton pulling away, Vettel and Verstappen provided some fireworks with the Dutch teenager keeping the door firmly closed as they went wheel to wheel.
“He wants to play bumper cars or something,” exclaimed Verstappen over the radio. – Reuters
SOUTH Africa have only defeated England once in the last 19 One-Day Internationals between these two sides.
Equally, the Proteas have played in just one ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final before.
England, meanwhile, have won the competition three times – second only to six-time champions Australia.
Considering England also posted a record 373/5 against South Africa in the roundrobin clash earlier in the tournament, it does not take a mathematical genius to calculate that the hosts are heavy favourites in the first semifinal at Bristol tomorrow.
Nobody, though, has dared whisper this to South Africa’s young leg-spinner Suné Luus who believes all that has gone before matters not a jot in a knockout match.
“Once you get into the semifinal there’s no ‘this is a more superior team’ or ‘this is the inferior team,’ I think everyone is equal once they have reached this stage,” said Luus,
who claimed 5/67 on Saturday against the Aussies.
“Both teams have done really well to get there, there’s a reason why every team is in the semi-final. I think it’s gonna be a great game of cricket.”
Although still only 21 years old, Luus has tasted the pressure of major semi-final against England before. Three years ago at the World T20 in Bangladesh, it was all rather embarrassing for Luus when she collided with teammate Chloe Tryon while running between the wickets and ended up in a heap in the middle of the pitch.
It was one of five run outs South Africa suffered on a dismal day in Dhaka, which is why Luus knows every aspect of the Proteas’ play needs to be on point if they are to make history of their own at The County Ground.
“All the departments need to work together finally as a unit,” Luus explained.
“The bowlers need to bowl the middle overs as well as they do the first few and the last few overs of the match, the batters need to not lose early wickets up front and wickets in clusters in the middle period.
“We also need to be really sharp when we field.”
South Africa should certainly enter the tie with the confidence that they have the bowling unit to put England under pressure. Captain Dane van Niekerk is the tournament’s leading bowler with 15 wickets, while Luus found some good form against Australia.
The pace bowlers have also struck regularly with the new ball – bar, ironically, the encounter against England – and there’s no doubt Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail will be desperate to show that was a rare off day at the office.
“Our bowling attack has been very good in this tournament,” Luus said. “With the exception of the game against England, I think we have shown that we do have the best bowling attack in the world.
“The batting has really improved as well. In previous tournaments, we could never get to 250, now we’re scoring 300s against England and that just shows how much the ladies have grown.”