South Africa head coach Hilton Moreeng claims experience has been the driving force behind a fine ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign as his side prepare to face West Indies.
The Proteas have already booked their place in the final four with a game to spare thanks to victories over England, Thailand and Pakistan.
With Group B pitting them against familiar opposition - England and West Indies were in their 2018 pool - Moreeng feels the Proteas have stolen a march on rivals.
“The difference is experience,” said Moreeng. “Most of our players have been there, they’ve played a lot of cricket against these teams.
“Playing in the Big Bash has helped, and we came from a very good tour of New Zealand that gave us confidence that we were able to compete against one of the top teams in this format.
“We couldn’t have asked for any more from the team right from when we landed in Australia with the preparation we had.
“We knew it would be a tough group but after 2018, we knew what to expect from these teams. Each and every player has focused on the task and used our experience of playing in these conditions.
“It’s not for us to get ahead of ourselves, West Indies are a dangerous side that have a couple of match-winners. You can’t let your guard down in T20 cricket.”
For West Indies, meanwhile, this game presents a difficult end to what has already been a tough tournament in Australia. Qualification to the semi-finals is no longer possible while injury problems have decimated their squad.
Captain Stafanie Taylor, who had to retire hurt when batting against England, has been ruled out of the tournament with one match remaining. And there are doubts over other key players in the squad, with star all-rounder Deandra Dottin among those nursing previous knocks or picking up new injuries.
“I have to get XI on the field currently. Right now, we are struggling – captain Stafanie Taylor is out of the tournament, no two ways about it,” said coach Gus Logie.
“Stafanie was quite shattered, it was a twist of fate. At that stage of the game it was a blow, she gives the others confidence to play. Once she was out there, if she was getting the balls away and you never know what could happen.
“We have had other players who have had issues reoccurring through the tournament, so first and foremost we are looking to get a fit XI on the field.
“The medical team cleared Deandra to play cricket beforehand, she had a tournament in Trinidad before coming out here and did reasonably well.
“We have been nursing her along and hoping, she hasn’t been bowling but she’d been batting pretty well in the nets.
“She did well in the practice games and we felt that if she batted a few overs and gave herself a chance, she would score runs.”
The article was first published on the ICC website