Proteas and Pakistan limber up for series showdown

The Proteas Women and Pakistan Women went through their final practice drills and nets ahead of Sunday in Benoni.

Crunch time has arrived for the Proteas women as they look to clinch their latest round of the ICC Women’s Championship (IWC) One-Day International series vs Pakistan when the teams meet in Benoni for the third and final match on Sunday.

With the three-match series convincingly levelled by the hosts in the second fixture on Thursday, two very valuable points sit within the reach of both sides and the hosts are determined to emerge on top come match’s end. Opening batters Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt believe that South Africa have the edge over the tourists with the bat in hand and hope to produce another solid performance in the decider.

Looking back at their eight-wicket win on Thursday, Wolvaardt praised the work of the bowling unit headed up by Masabata Klaas, crediting them for setting up the victory. She also noted a few areas of improvement for the batting group even while she was pleased with the progress made after their collapse in Match One.

“Our bowlers set it up perfectly for us, they bowled incredibly well. As a batting unit, we need to show a little more intent up front and play our shots a little more,” she commented.

The twenty-year-old spoke of her admiration for her batting partner Lizelle Lee, gushing about how easy she made batting look.

“It’s really nice batting with Lizelle (Lee), I think anyone in the world would like to bat with her. She really takes the pressure off me. The first ball she faced (in the previous match) she smashed over extra for four, I mean, who does that?!” She laughed. “I’m then able to play my role, get off strike and watch her from the other end. It’s just really lovely batting with her.”

When asked what South Africa will need to do better in order to emerge on the winning side of the match, Wolvaardt said: “It’s just sticking with what we do best. We need to not get too caught up in their game, or what they’re doing. We need to stick to our plans and keep it very simple. We really want to win the series especially playing at home, we’re definitely gonna give it our all.”

Lizelle Lee agreed with her partner’s assessments and added the importance of collecting two more points towards their IWC campaign. South Africa are currently sitting comfortably in fourth place with 15 points. A win tomorrow will elevate them to the number three spot with just one point clear of India (16) and one point behind England who are second on the log with 18 points.

Pakistan continue to occupy sixth position with 14 points behind New Zealand who also have 14 but lead them by virtue of a superior net run rate. The 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup hosts have also played one more match than South Africa and Pakistan who both have played 14 to the White Ferns’ 15. Australia top the log with a hefty 22 points in just 12 ODIs, they are the first team to secure qualification for the World Cup.

“The team’s in a very good space after the last ODI that we played and we’re really looking forward to tomorrow. There’s two points up for grabs and we’re not taking anything for granted. We know how good a team Pakistan is and can be, so we have to hit the ground running tomorrow,” Lee stated on Saturday afternoon.

“The batters did well (in the last match) and I’m just glad for Wolfie (Laura Wolvaardt) and how she got through a very hard patch and got us through, that was good to see. It’s literally like a (World Cup) final for us tomorrow. They (Pakistan) are a very spin-heavy team, but I think we’re better with the bat. If we execute our plans like we’ve set out to do, we’ll come out on top,” she concluded.

The decisive third and final match of the series takes place at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on 12 May 2019 from 10:00 local time.

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