Proteas have a new ‘Luus’ on life

As they build to semi-fi­nal, SA women be­lieve they can stun hosts Eng­land

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

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.”

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