Sri Lanka’s spin requires more than a patience game for Proteas Women’s Tazmin Brits

Tazmin Brits scored her second ODI hundred for the Proteas Women against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Photo: BackpagePix

Tazmin Brits scored her second ODI hundred for the Proteas Women against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 11, 2024


It remains a concern that the Proteas Women have completely lost form in T20 cricket since becoming the first senior SA team to reach a World Cup final when they qualified for the 2023 T20 title decider.

The downward spiral is due to a host of different reasons, but one of the main struggles has been the team’s inability to consistently score at healthy T20 rates.

Too many times the South African batting unit has relied heavily on a handful of players such as captain Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Nadine de Klerk and Tazmin Brits.

Outside of this group, there hasn’t been enough consistency with the bat in the team.

On Tuesday, during the rain-affected first ODI against Sri Lanka at Buffalo Park in East London, South Africa set a score of 270-6 in their allotted 50 overs, a healthy score only when playing the ninth-ranked side in the world.

However, when playing world-beaters such as Australia, in most cases 270 runs won’t be enough to challenge such a strong side.

A closer look at Tuesday’s total reveals a lot.

The side scored at around five runs per over in the first 10 overs, and dipped to four from overs 10 to 20, before maintaining five runs per over for the duration of the innings.

That slow scoring is mostly the reason behind the side’s dismal form in T20 cricket in what is a big year, given that the T20 World Cup is only a few months away.

Speaking to the media after her knock of 116 off 128 balls (including 12 fours) took her to her second career ODI century, opening batter Brits emphasised how the 50-over format allows batters time to get used to the conditions, a luxury that they do not have in T20 cricket.

“The T20s did not come off. (But) I tried to convince myself that I am still good enough to make these runs at the end of the day,” said Brits.

“With the ODIs, I had more time to get myself in. I think it’s maybe just having more time to play the ball as it comes.”

Another concern lies in how the South African batters struggle when the nature of the opposition bowling attack is one without express pace, and they need to use power and creativity to score runs.

In Pakistan last year, the 3-0 T20 series whitewash was mainly due to the Proteas batters’ struggles against spin.

Their difficulties were again highlighted last week when Sri Lanka spinner Kavisha Dilhari exposed them to win the T20 series 2-1.

“(The wicket was) very slow. I was actually a bit worried about that,” Brits continued.

“It was slow and low. And with the Sri Lanka bowling, they bowl a bit slower as well.

“So, once again it was not just a patience game of hitting singles, but maybe waiting for the ball as well.”

— Proteas Women (@ProteasWomenCSA) April 9, 2024

However, it is not all gloom and doom for coach Hilton Moreeng’s side as Brits and Wolvaardt proved once again that they are a formidable opening pair, with a 94-run stand.

Brits told the media that Tuesday’s no-result – with rain having curtailed Sri Lanka’s chase at 23-0 after 6.5 overs – will push the side to go all out in Saturday’s second ODI at Willowmoore Park in Benoni (2pm start).

“I definitely think it will motivate us,” said Brits. “We, of course, wanted to get some points and maybe win the game, but I think we’re very excited for the next game.”