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2017 ICC Women’s World Cup: Cricket South Africa Announces Women’s Squad 

2017 ICC Women’s World Cup: Cricket South Africa Announces Women’s Squad
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Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Tuesday announced the 15-woman Momentum Proteas squad that will represent South Africa in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup that will take place in England from 24 June to 23 July.

The tournament will take place across five venues namely; Bristol County Ground, The County Ground (Derby), Grace Road (Leicester), The County Ground (Taunton), with the final at the Lord’s.

Captain Dané van Niekerk will lead the side for the first time in an ICC World Cup after successfully overseeing the team’s qualification thanks to an impressive showing at the World Cup qualifiers in February of this year.

South Africa women’s captain Dane van Niekerk has been declared fit for the World Cup in June as she is expected to have fully recovered from the foot injury. Van Niekerk was prescribed six weeks’ rest after sustaining the injury earlier this month. She sat out of the recent quadrangular series, South Africa’s last preparatory event before the World Cup, but should be ready for their opening match on June 25.

Van Niekerk will be the only member short of match practice. The rest of the squad consists entirely of players who took part in the four-team tournament, including Nadine de Klerk and Raisibe Ntozakhe, who both debuted in the series.

South Africa has won five out of six matches in the round-robin stage and reached the final, where they lost to India. The rest of the team list reads as expected by many, with senior players such as Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Trisha Chetty and vice-captain Chloe Tryon cracking the nod for yet another ICC competition

Their most notable performance was an eight-run victory over India in the ninth match. They also had a selection of individual moments to savour. Eighteen-year-old Laura Wolvaardt scored one of South Africa’s two centuries in the competition – Andrie Steyn hit the other – as South Africa racked up 337 for five, their highest ODI total, against Ireland.

On the bowling front, Shabnim Ismail topped the tournament charts. South Africa go into the event on the back of a two-and-a-half year period that coach Hilton Moreeng believes stands them in good stead.

“I believe that we finally have the winning formula. The balance in the side is just right,” he said.

The last time a South Africa women’s side toured England for ODIs was in 2008, although they played a three-match T20 series in the country in 2014.

Some players, including van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee and Ismail, were part of the Women’s Super League last year, which they believe will help with the adjustments.

“With a few of us having a bit of experience of English conditions, we are confident going into the tournament that we are going to give it our very best and leave it all on the field by the time it ends,” van Niekerk said.

Coach Hilton Moreeng is satisfied with the squad selected and believes that they have the ability and capability to return home with the trophy.

“It’s taken the better part of the last 24 months to build what we have now and I believe that we finally have the winning formula,” he commented. “The balance in the side is just right and I know that the team can’t wait to get to England and test themselves against the world’s best sides.This year’s squad, led by Dané (van Niekerk) has spent a lot of time together and we have a lot of game time under our belts,” he continued. “I’m very happy and proud to have the two youngsters, Raisibe (Ntozake) and Nadine (de Klerk) in the fold.They proved their worth during the Quadrangular series and announced themselves well to international cricket. They are the perfect example of hard work paying off and how doing all the right things can reap just rewards. We’re looking forward to getting to England and making our nation proud.”

Cricket South Africa Chief Executive, Mr Haroon Lorgat, commented:

“Congratulations to all our players who have been selected to represent our country at the ICC Women’s World Cup.Qualifying for the 2017 World Cup was a goal we had set ourselves some three years ago and we are proud to have achieved it. I have no doubt that our players will represent us with pride and passion and we wish them every success during the tournament.”

South Africa’s best finish at a Women’s World Cup was in 2000 when they lost to Australia in the semi-finals. They have not finished in the top four since then, but their structures have become professional, national contracts have been awarded and they have high-profile sponsorship.

The selectors decided to stick to the same 14 members who did well in the Quadrangular series and reached the final.

THE SQUAD:

Dané van Niekerk (capt, Eastern Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Trisha Chetty (wk, Gauteng), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Andrie Steyn (Western Province), Masabata Klaas (Free State), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Raisibe Ntozake (Gauteng), Moseline Daniels (Boland), Nadine de Klerk (Northerns), Sune Luus (Northerns), Ayabonga Khaka (Border).

Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies qualified directly for the tournament from the ICC Women’s Championship, while India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan earned their spot via Qualifiers. South Africa will face the old rival, Pakistan, in their first appearance at the World Cup.

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