Cape Town, Feb 25 (IANS) Ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final, captain Sune Luus believes her history-making South African side can end an ‘amazing tournament by lifting silverware in front of their own supporters as they continue their mission to inspire a nation.
Luus will go where no South African has gone before at Newlands on Sunday as she prepares to lead her side out in their first-ever ICC World Cup final.
The Proteas held their nerve to beat England by six runs in Friday’s semi-final and will be backed by a passionate Cape Town crowd as they look to get the better of the reigning champions.
“It has been an amazing tournament so far, on and off the field. The goal for us was to inspire the nation, to get women’s cricket in South Africa on the map, for young girls and boys to pick up their bat and ball and, and I guess just for women’s sport in general in South Africa to be raised and to be on the map as well,” said Luus in the pre-match press conference.
“In terms of that, we are definitely doing the job. It’s something we never thought would happen in our country, people standing in queues to buy tickets for a women’s cricket match.
It’s very special. I don’t think we can do much more to show that we are serious about women’s cricket in this country. Winning the final would be the ultimate cherry on the top,” she added.
To do so, South Africa will have to improve on their group stage showing against Australia, who ran out six-wicket winners on February 18.
The Proteas have grown since then, boosted by the improving form of openers Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits, both fresh from consecutive half-centuries, and speedster Shabnim Ismail, who bowled the fastest recorded over in women’s cricket history against England, peaking at 127.4 KPH.
On her side’s opening pair, Luus said: “They are finding their stride and their confidence at the right time. There has been a lot of talk of whether we want to put them in the middle order or whether the middle order has to go up the order and so forth.
But they have shown their class and they have proven a lot of people wrong. They have the confidence to go out tomorrow, play their game and hopefully get us off to a good start again.”
“We were 20, 30, 40 runs short in the last game [against Australia] so it’s for us to take it as deep as possible, whether we get 120 on the board or 190,” she added.
The skipper will insist South Africa play the game rather than the occasion on Sunday but knows that whatever the outcome, this has been a transformative few weeks.
“I got a lot of messages last night and over the course of the day,” Luus said.
“It’s starting to sink in and every time I open my phone, I just get more emotional every time I see a message.
No matter what happens tomorrow, I feel extremely proud of the team, the management team and what we’ve done. It has been an incredible journey and an incredible tournament,” she added.