Tue, 21 Mar 2023

Cape Town [South Africa], February 2 (ANI): South Africa captain Sune Luus hoped that her team would leave past defeats behind in the competition, particularly a narrow defeat in a nail-biting match in 2020, and go on to win the World Cup.

Two-time T20 World Cup semi-finalists South Africa will look to make the most of home advantage in the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023.

South Africa's first game at the T20 World Cup comes up against Sri Lanka in Cape Town on February 10, while the Proteas also have group matches against New Zealand, Australia and Bangladesh.

"With it being a home World Cup, we're very excited. We're going to have all our family and friends at every game, so that's also very exciting. The aim for every team in the World Cup is obviously to win that trophy. In the past we've come so close every time; we've made the semi-finals and then having to go through that loss," ICC quoted Luus as saying.

"So hopefully this year is our year, where we can actually get through the semi-finals, get into that final and hopefully keep the trophy in South Africa. That would be amazing," she added.

South Africa will attempt to capitalise on familiarity with home conditions.

"The preparations have been very good. We've played our league games in the Tri-Series against India and the West Indies, and that's been going very well. We are used to the conditions, obviously being a home World Cup as well, we know what to expect from every ground we're going to be playing on. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage," added the South Africa captain.

Luus lauded her "well-balanced side," which she thought had a nice combination of experience and fresh blood, before naming some promising South African talent.

"We're a very well-balanced team. This year we have a good balance of experienced players as well as new youngsters coming through. That makes it very exciting for us. Our bowling attack has always been our strong suit, but I think we have a very powerful batting lineup as well. That's something I look forward to seeing come to the fore in this World Cup," Luus added.

"We have our standouts. We have Marizanne Kapp in the team, she's always a very good T20 player. Laura Wolvaardt up the order as well. Chloe Tryon is very powerful as well, and also Shabnim Ismail, our pocket rocket. And then we have some youngsters coming through. Nadine de Clark, someone I think is a very underrated cricketer, but is very good, and Nonkululeko Mlaba, she's a very good bowler and also someone that I think is very underrated," she said.

South Africa ran Australia close in the seventh edition of the Women's T20 World Cup before falling short of a place in the final.

"When it comes to memories from past T20 World Cups, I don't know if it's very memorable, but our semi-final against Australia at the previous T20 World Cup. We came so close and for our team to come so close to a team like Australia, it just showed the growth that we've had over the last couple of years. It's really exciting to see where we are going to be this year in the World Cup," Luus said.

South Africa will host the women's competition for the first time. A successful competition, according to Luus, would be huge for women's sports.

"South Africa is a great venue. We have a great crowd coming in. We have a good vibe as well around the country. Playing at two coastal venues, it's going to be low and slow. But the groundsmen might surprise us, you never know what they will give us. Paarl is going to be very hot, and it might also be slow. With the SA20 on all the pitches at the moment, they are a bit worn and torn, so it's going to be interesting to see how they play," South Africa captain said.

"The women's game has transformed a lot over the years. It has grown so much and it's very exciting with all the leagues coming up and the Women's IPL (Women's Premier League) starting soon," she added. (ANI)

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