South Africa will look to join Australia on four wins from four matches at the top of the Group Stage standings when they face tournament hosts New Zealand in Hamilton on Thursday.
MATCH CENTER | STANDINGS
- Match 16: New Zealand Women v South Africa Women
- Seddon Park, Hamilton
- Thursday 17 March, 14:00 Local Time
The Proteas are ranked second in the world, and showed their class with a superb win over defending ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Champions England last time out.
South Africa will go into their meeting with New Zealand confident of a fourth tournament victory thanks to their excellent recent head-to-head record against the White Ferns.
The two teams met for a three-match ODI series in early 2020 on New Zealand soil, with South Africa winning all three matches, bowling well and chasing down the target successfully on each occasion.
Marizanne Kapp, who took an outstanding five-for against England, says it is the emergence of a strong batting line-up that has helped the side take the leap up to being one of the leading teams in the world.
“Since I can remember our strongest suit was our bowling,” Kapp said. “I mean there are three of us that have been playing for South Africa for a long time, you would think that we know what we are doing when we step onto the field.
“But I think one of the reasons why we have been doing so well the past few years is because our batting has been so good.
“We were a bit slow in the first three matches, and I feel that we are nowhere near our best yet. But I think that (the win over England) will go a long way to give us a boost in the right direction. “
Tournament hosts New Zealand have bounced back well from their shock opening-day loss to an inspired West Indies, beating Bangladesh and India convincingly.
But a heavy loss to Australia last time out has given the White Ferns a negative run-rate after four games, with coach Jacob Oram knowing that they need to win at least two and preferably all three of their remaining matches to avoid that run-rate issue becoming a factor in their semi-final qualification chances.
“It’s getting to the point of must-win midway through our games for the tournament. So it’s not an ideal position to know that every game is potentially, and that’s a key word, must-win, ”Oram said.
“After the loss to West Indies, we knew and we had really tough games to come, like India where we came out on top, like South Africa, like England next weekend at Eden Park. There’s some huge games coming up.
“We’ve found ourselves losing two out of four and it’s just reality so we’ve got to suck it up and make sure that we’re able to win the rest of the games so that we do take run-rate out of contention , make sure we just get through based on points from winning games. “
New Zealand Squad: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite (vc), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Melie Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu . Traveling Reserve: Molly Penfold
South Africa Squad: Suné Luus (c), Chloé Tryon (vc), Ayabonga Khaka, Lara Goodall, Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Maria Klaas, Mignon du Preez, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Tumi Sekhukhune. Traveling reserves: Andrie Steyn, Nadine de Klerk, Raisibe Ntozakhe
Sophie Devine – Devine’s experience with bat and ball is invaluable, but it is perhaps her tactical nous that is her most underrated asset of all. The White Ferns skipper always sets good fields and generally rotates her bowlers well to ensure batters don’t become too comfortable. Devine can also turn a game with bat or ball and will be crucial to the fortunes of the home nation.
Marizanne Kapp – Rated as the third-best allrounder on the ICC Women’s ODI rankings, Kapp is a player to keep a close eye on in New Zealand. The 32-year-old recently played a pivotal role in helping the Perth Scorchers claim the WBBL title and is just as capable in 50-over cricket. Kapp can also be quite effective with the bat, with her middle-order hitting a strength for the South African side.
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Captaincy Pick – Amelia Kerr
New Zealand’s all-rounder came into the World Cup in terrific form and offers genuine quality with both bat and ball. She was in power-hitting mode against Bangladesh last time out, blasting an unbeaten 47 * from 37 balls to help the tournament hosts to victory, and has the quality to do the same sort of damage to India’s attack.
Must have – Ayabonga Khaka
One of the less-heralded members of South Africa’s excellent bowling unit, Khaka’s four-wicket haul against Bangladesh was a reminder that the 29-year-old is among the world’s best bowlers. And she followed it up with two more in the win over Pakistan, as well as executing a crucial run-out. The right-arm quick is one of three South Africans in the top eight of the ICC’s Women’s ODI bowling rankings, along with Kapp and Shabnim Ismail.
The picturesque Seddon Park plays host to this match, one of seven tournament fixtures held at the ground.
The grassy stadium in Hamilton will be a familiar setting to fans of international cricket, with the ground having hosted an abundance of international matches since its first ODI – New Zealand’s men against India back in 1981.
All eight teams at the tournament will play each other across seven rounds in a league format.
The top four teams in the standings after the conclusion of the Group Stage will qualify for the semi-finals, which will be held in the final week of March.
New Zealand’s remaining tournament fixtures:
17 March v South Africa
20 March v England
26 March v Pakistan
South Africa’s remaining tournament fixtures:
17 March v New Zealand
22 March v Australia
24 March v West Indies
27 March v India