Photo Credit: ICC / Getty Images
Ahead of an enthralling and historical occasion in the country’s rich cricketing history, South Africa’s captain Suné Luus as well as head coach, Hilton Moreeng are eagerly awaiting their date with destiny in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final against Australia taking place on Sunday in Cape Town.
The T20 World Cup finale gets underway from 15h00 (SAST) in front of what is expected to be a sold-out Newlands Stadium crowd, with all the action also broadcast live on SuperSport Grandstand (Ch. 201).
In the pre-match press conference prior to the monumental day for South African cricket, Luus highlighted the significance of hosting the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup on home soil, including the impact success in the tournament will and has had on the women’s game within the country.
“It’s been an amazing tournament so far, on and off the field,” the skipper noted.
“As far as cricket is concerned, we are achieving our goals that we wanted so that is awesome to see. Off the field, I think we are also doing the job that we wanted to do; the goal for us was to inspire a nation and to get women’s cricket in South Africa on the map, and for young girls and boys to pick up a bat and ball.
“In terms of that, we are definitely doing the job and hopefully tomorrow can be another stepping stone towards that,” Luus added.
Under the tutelage of coach Moreeng, spanning more than 10 years, the Proteas Women have undertaken an extensive, lesson-filled journey towards reaching a first ever World Cup final for a South African team, in men or women’s cricket.
Over the course of his decade-long tenure, Moreeng has overseen multiple semi-final appearances, beginning with the T20 World Cup in 2014 in which South Africa lost out to England in Bangladesh. That preceded a semi-final showing in the 50-over competition in England, which was followed up by final four finishes in 2020 (T20 World Cup in Australia) and 2022 (50-over World Cup in New Zealand).
Having experienced numerous semi-final heartbreaks in the past, Moreeng believes his side have taken on the lessons brought by those knockout defeats and that Friday’s maiden six run, semi-final victory over England was long overdue.
“I can’t pre-empt what is going to happen next but it has been a long and tough journey,” the coach began.
“The girls have grown and the team has grown in stature with every competition and opportunity they had to play and they have shown the character that we knew they always had.
“We have always come close and it was actually fitting that it (making a first final) could happen on home soil on a day like it did yesterday because we have played England in England and you know what happened and it was tough.
“But we knew there’s still a lot of youngsters in the squad and they will get an opportunity one day to grow from it and some of them, when given an opportunity, you could see they could hold their nerve and understand what it is all about.
“For me, what I have seen over the years, it has been very encouraging, and I am blessed to be a part of it because we have a very talented group of players and it is good to see them put the performances together,” Moreeng added.
With only a day to prepare for the five-time winners and defending champions Australia – a team the Proteas Women have not been able to triumph over in previous six T20Is – Coach Moreeng shared some insight on the team’s readiness ahead of the titanic battle.
“It’s not always easy. We mentioned it when we saw the fixtures, but it is one of those that you knew that if you get yourself into the semi-finals, you need to be ready for this. Even with the series we had back in East London, we tried to replicate that and see how we can work on it and how the girls respond.
“Now the most important thing is to get everyone fresh again, give them good recovery and make sure that from there, they can switch on again and play cricket because no one in the changeroom needs (extra) motivation for tomorrow, they know what is at stake.
‘We know we are playing against tough opposition and history is just that, history, tomorrow is a new day, it’s a once off game and whoever wants it the most will have,” the coach continued.
Speaking as the first South African cricket captain to lead the Proteas into a senior World Cup final, Luus also emphasized the enormity of the occasion awaiting her and the rest of her teammates, win or lose:
“It’s going to be a very special feeling. Like Coach Hilton said, we have always known we had the ability and the skill to be in a final and it was just to about getting through that semi-final curse as the country and the whole world is putting it but it’s going to be something special.
“No matter what happens tomorrow, it’s going to be a special day for us,” the captain added.
Momentum Proteas 15 player squad for ICC Women’s T20 World Cup South Africa 2023:
Suné Luus (Titans) (Captain), Chloé Tryon (Dolphins) (Vice-Captain), Anneke Bosch (North West Dragons), Tazmin Brits (Garden Route Badgers), Nadine de Klerk (Western Province), Annerie Dercksen (Garden Route Badgers), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Dolphins), Sinalo Jafta (Western Province), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Ayabonga Khaka (Lions), Masabata Klaas (North West Dragons), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Dolphins), Delmi Tucker (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province)
South Africa’s Fixtures – ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023
Sunday, 26 February – 15h00 (SAST)
Final: South Africa vs Australia (Newlands, Cape Town)