Captain Dane van Niekerk wants South Africa to target a fast start in their final round robin match of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 against Australia.
The Proteas, already qualified for the semi-final stages with a game to play, will hope to gain a psychological advantage over their opposition on Saturday in case they meet in the last four.
The side to top the eight-team league will play the fourth-placed side in the first semi-final in Bristol on Tuesday while the sides finishing second and third will feature in the second semi-final in Derby two days later.
Van Niekerk’s side lost by 103 runs when the two sides met in a World Cup warm-up match at Oakham School and the skipper has identified where improvements can be made.
“We generally start really well, get two or three wickets up front, and that is crucial because we know how good the Australia top order is,” the Proteas skipper told www.icc-cricket.com.
“We then let it go a little bit in the middle so we’ll definitely sit and work out how we can utilise the middle overs a lot better.
“They do bat deep, so obviously we need to sort that out, but we’re really excited – it’s always good to play against the best in the world.
“The girls are training really hard, their hearts are in it, they want to be here until the end, so we’ll just try and control what we can control.”
Reigning champions Australia will top the standings if they get a better result than England, who face West Indies.
Meg Lanning-led Australia won their opening four matches before defeat to the hosts, but bounced back well with an eight-wicket win over India last time out.
And the Australia captain is wary of the threats South Africa may pose at theCounty Ground in Taunton come Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll certainly be going into the game against South Africa to win and play well. They’re a very dangerous side who have had some really good games throughout the World Cup,” she said.
“It will be a really good test for us to continue to improve on our game, and hopefully we can get the result we want before moving onto the semis.
“We want to keep on playing aggressive cricket and take the points. Their opening bowlers, in [Shabnim] Ismail and [Marizanne] Kapp in particular, are very dangerous.
“And we’ve seen how strong their batting line-up is with [Lizelle] Lee up the top and Dane van Niekerk has been in good form too.
“They have a lot of match-winners in there so we’ll have to play well.”
South Africa have yet to defeat Australia in ODI cricket with their best result in 14 matches being a tie.
SQUADS FOR TAUNTON
Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani and Amanda-Jade Wellington.
South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (captain), Trisha Chetty. Moseline Daniels, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Laura Wolvaardt, Odine Kirsten.
Umpires: Chris Brown and Langton Rusere, Match Referee: David Jukes
TV: SS2, Start time: 11am (SA time)