CAPE TOWN – Sometimes it is hard to imagine that Sune Luus is still only 22 years old. It just seems that she has been around the Proteas Women's team forever.
That does though tend to happen to players who make their international debuts at only 18. Just ask a certain Kagiso Rabada. And just like Rabada, Luus' team expect her a lot from her.
There's no hiding behind that theory that “normal” 22-year-old's are meant to be care-free and devoid of responsibility. Luus is a “senior” player in the Proteas Women's team, with her input being valued and expectation that she lead by example. In fact, Luus has the led the national team in the absence of regular captain Dane van Niekerk on occasion.
Unfortunately, the early promise that Luus showed has not materialised consistently on the international circuit over the past couple of seasons, and after a horrid tour to England during the winter, the all-rounder was in genuine danger of losing her place.
However, after a couple of frank discussions with Proteas head coach Hilton Moreeng and his assistant Saliegh Nackerdien, as well as convenor selectors Clinton du Preez, Luus has greater clarity on her role in the team again and it has showed in her most recent performances.
After a half-century in the warm-up game leading into the first ODI in Barbados on Sunday, Luus followed it up with 58 off 86 balls to set up the Proteas for a comfortable 40-run victory at the Kensington Oval.
“I think I had a tough time in England a few months back,” Luus said. “This tour (of the West Indies) was a really big one for me, just to get my name on the board again. I had been doubting what works for me for a little while now, but to get through that has been a real positive and I have worked really hard since then and to see the rewards is really satisfying.”
Although a strike-rate of 67.44 may seem workmanlike to some, it was indeed what was required on a surface that had been under covers for some time due to a downpour on the island that delayed the start of the match.
Luus credited her batting partners for helping through this tough period, with Laura Wolvaardt also working hard for her 45 (106 balls) during their 99-run partnership for the second wicket, while Van Niekerk held the ship together with 46 not out off 90 balls.
“Laura was going well on the one end, which helped me and then Dane also came in and played positively. Taking the momentum from the warm-up game into this game worked nicely for me.
They have a few quick bowlers too with Conell and Dottin darting it in. They used the conditions well and the wicket was a bit up-and-down – a bit tennis-ball bounce – and they literally went for our heads. Bit we stuck it through and batted our full 50 overs,” she added.
South Africa’s impressive bowling unit finished off the job with experienced seamer Marizanne Kapp leading the way 3/14, which included her 100th ODI scalp. Luus also chipped with a wicket to accompany her earlier half-century.