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Proteas ready to embrace the responsibility as hosts of the first women’s World Cup in Africa

Sune Luus

Sune Luus

Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

  • Proteas skipper Sune Luus admits to feeling World Cup pressure but says the team can only embrace it.
  • The Proteas take on Sri Lanka in the Women’s T20 World Cup opening encounter at Newlands.
  • Luus expects a lot of spin from their subcontinental opponents.

Proteas skipper Sune Luus says her team understands the responsibility of hosting the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup over the next fortnight, as well as the role they could play in inspiring future generations of young women.

South Africa open their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka at Newlands on Friday.

It’s the first-ever senior Women’s World Cup to be played on African soil and the first senior World Cup hosted in South Africa since India won the men’s T20 format in 2007.

“It’s quite massive. I don’t think we quite realise what we already achieved without playing the game. I think it’s going to be awesome tomorrow just seeing everyone coming out,” Luus told reporters at Newlands on Thursday.

“Apart from being successful and winning games, I think there’s a responsibility of inspiring a nation as well and inspiring young girls to imagine a career, that they can do anything.

“I think that’s one of our biggest roles as a team we would like to play, not just winning games, but also inspiring a nation to give them that opportunity to know that they can be anything they want.”

Fans can now buy tickets for all 23 matches in Cape Town, Paarl and Gqeberha as the top 10 teams in the world vie for the ICC trophy.

The Proteas are in a tough Group A alongside Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh and defending champions Australia.

Luus insists that her side will embrace the pressure as they look to reach an elusive final berth, having reached the semi-final threshold in the 2014 and 2020 editions.

“I think there’s always going to be pressure and you’re always going to feel it, whether you play at home or not, but I think we’ve spoken a lot about it and how we would want to go about this World Cup,” said Luus.

“We just need to embrace the moment and embrace the pressure and take it on and run with it.”

READ | Proteas to let ‘cricket do the talking’ as excitement builds for T20 Women’s World Cup 

The Proteas come off a Tri-Series title win against West Indies and India. Despite losing their warm-up against England in Stellenbosch this week, they went down swinging in pursuit of a sizeable 247, falling short by 17 runs. In their final warm-up game at Boland Park, Paarl, on Wednesday, they defeated Pakistan by six wickets.

Luus believes that Sri Lanka will throw a lot of spin at them and is expecting a used wicket at Newlands following the action of the SA20.

“Newlands is always a good ground to play on. Obviously, with the SA20 a lot of cricket has been played on it. We’re not expecting a road… it should be a very good wicket,” Luus said.

“They’re a subcontinent team. They’re going to throw a lot of spin overs at us and that’s something we’ve addressed and are well prepared for.

“They also have a well-balanced side with some strong hitters and some players that’s just knocking it around and taking those ones and twos. It’s going to be a well-balanced game and it’s going to be a game for us that we really need to try and be at our best.”

Play on Friday starts at 19:00.

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