Proteas women set to embrace pressure of hosting a home World Cup

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Proteas women captain Sune Luus in action during their T20 warm-up match against Pakistan on Wednesday, says her side is ready to embrace the pressure of hosting the T20 World Cup. PHOTO: Grant Pitcher-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

The Proteas women’s team are set to embrace the pressure of hosting a home World Cup, as the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup kicks off in South Africa on Friday night.

Ten of the best women’s T20 teams from across the world are set to battle it out in 23 games over 16 days to see who will emerge as champions.

Current T20 World Cup title holders Australia are tipped to be favourites again, while powerhouse teams England and India will be eager to go the distance, while hosts South Africa have plenty riding on their campaign.

Proteas captain Sune Luus admits that there is plenty of pressure on the team to go the distance and that is something they have to embrace.

“There is always going to be pressure and you are always going to feel it whether you are playing at home or not. But we have spoken about how we want to approach this world cup and we just have to embrace the moment and run with it,” said Luus.

“There is not much we can do about the pressure, the expectations of the people and the media saying things. So we just have to embrace the pressure and stay in the moment.”

Sri Lanka opener
The Proteas open the World Cup with a clash against Sri Lanka at Newlands on Friday night (7pm start) and they will be eager to get their campaign off to a perfect start with a win.

“Newlands is always a good ground to play on. With the SA20 being played here a lot of cricket has been played on (the ground) it, so we aren’t expecting a road. But I think they are producing very good wickets and that is what we are expecting,” admitted Luus.

“Sri Lanka is a subcontinent team, so they are going to throw a lot of spin overs at us. That is something that we need to be prepared for. They also have a well-balanced side with some strong hitters and some players that can knock it around and take ones and twos.

“So it is going to be a well-balanced game for us and it is a game that we are going to have to be at our very best if we want to win.”

The Proteas have played two warm-up games in the lead up to the competition, against England which they lost by 17-runs and against Pakistan who they beat by six wickets, with Luus claiming that they were very important in preparing them for the showpiece event.

“The results show a loss and a win, but I think both games were wins for us. In the England match they posted that mammoth total and we only lost by 17-runs which I take as a big stride for our team.

“Our batting has come a long way and to score 229 against England, which is our biggest score yet, is really cool to see what we can do going into a T20 World Cup and pushing those 160 and 170 scores if the pitches allow.”

Ross Roche/The Citizen