South Africa women

Fight to avoid the bottom

Cricinfo staff

March 7, 2009

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Free from captaincy duties, Cri-zelda Brits will hope to make an impact with her batting © ICC
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This will be South Africa's first trip to Australia in 10 years. After winning the World Cup qualifiers last year, a buoyant South African side went on a tour of UK, where they won a single game - against Ireland. The narrowest of their four defeats to England was by six wickets. They haven't played any international cricket since August 2008 and that could hurt their chances of making it to the Super Six - West Indies and Sri Lanka look in much better form. However South Africa have begun their World Cup campaign with a win over Pakistan in the warm-up while Sri Lanka and West Indies lost both their practice games.

Like West Indies, South Africa are going into the tournament with a new captain - Sunette Loubser. They have an experienced line-up with players like Shadre Fritz, Cri-zelda Brits, Claire Terblanche and Alicia Smith having played 20 or more matches each. However South Africa also have the youngest player of the tournament - 15-year old legspinner Dane van Niekerk.

West Indies beat South Africa 2-1 the last time the two sides met, immediately after the World Cup. That may add a psychological factor to their match on Sunday which both sides will know is a must-win if they are to hope for a place in the Super Six. The fight to avoid the bottom never looked this interesting.

Know your competition

Australia: Expect to be bowled out cheaply when facing Australia. The target for South Africa will be to try and bat out the 50 overs.

New Zealand: A similar task faces them against New Zealand - who have fast bowlers and big hitters.

West Indies: South Africa open the World Cup against West Indies and it is a crunch game as it may decide which side joins Australia and New Zealand to the Super Six from Group A.

Stars of 2009

Cri-zelda Brits was removed as captain with the intention of letting her concentrate on her batting. We'll have to wait and see whether, free from the leadership duties, Brits can make an impact with her batting. She will be eager to add to her one ODI century.

Alicia Smith was South Africa's top run-getter in the one-day series against England with 116 from four matches. South Africa will need Smith and Brits to combine to give them a winning total.

Squad: Sunette Loubser (capt), Alicia Smith, Cri-zelda Brits, Marizanne Kapp, Trisha Chetty (wk), Shandre Fritz, Claire Terblanche, Shabnin Ismail, Dane van Niekerk, Susan Benade, Mignon du Preez, Ashlyn Kilowan, Marcia Letsoalo, Yolandi van der Westhuizen, Charlize van der Westhuizen.

Group fixtures

March 8 - South Africa v West Indies, Newcastle
March 10 - Australia v South Africa, Newcastle
March 12 - New Zealand v South Africa, Bradman Oval

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Related Links
Preview : World Cup 2009 preview
Players/Officials: Cri-zelda Brits | Alicia Smith
Series/Tournaments: ICC Women's World Cup
Teams: South Africa
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