Wicketkeeper Lizelle Lee (right) chats to captain Dane van Niekerk during the 2018 T20 against India at Newlands Cricket Ground in February. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

GUYANA – In captain Dane van Niekerk and teenager Laura Wolvaardt, South Africa have two game-changing players when the T20 Women's World Cup is held in Guyana, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda in the West Indies from Friday until November 24.

Each team will play their group matches at one venue, in either Guyana or St Lucia, before the semifinals and final move to Antigua. South Africa's three group games take place in St Lucia.

Captain and all-rounder Van Niekerk has some impressive statistics.

At just 25, she is her country's leading run-scorer and joint-second top wicket-taker in T20 International cricket. 

Van Niekerk is a genuine match-winner with both disciplines. On wickets that are expected to be particularly receptive to spin bowling, her leg-spin will be a handy asset for her side, particularly in the middle overs. 

Dane van Niekerk will be crucial to her team's efforts at the upcoming World Cup. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Dane van Niekerk will be crucial to her team's efforts at the upcoming World Cup. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

At the 2014 ICC Women's World T20, Van Niekerk shared a 163-run opening partnership with Lizelle Lee against the tournament hosts, Bangladesh. That partnership shows just how destructive she can be with the bat as well. 

She was visibly distraught when South Africa lost by two wickets to England in the semifinal of the ICC Women's World Cup 2017, and this year she has all the tools at her disposal to atone for that agonising defeat in style with a tournament victory in the Caribbean. 

Wolvaardt, meanwhile, has been turning heads for a while now, and is only 19-years-old. 

In 2016, she became South Africa's youngest centurion – across men's and women's cricket – in international cricket when she scored a ton in a One-Day International against Ireland, and a year later racked up 149 against the same opposition.

Laura Wolvaardt will bring a lot of energy to the Proteas at the World Cup: Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix
Laura Wolvaardt will bring a lot of energy to the Proteas at the World Cup: Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

She hasn't yet experienced quite the same success in T20I cricket yet, but she has played just 10 games in the format.

Wolvaardt has already shown that she's in decent touch, scoring 42 against India in a tournament warm-up match and South Africa will be hoping that she can carry that form into the tournament.

South Africa's fixtures (all in Saint Lucia),

November 12: v Sri Lanka

November 14: v West Indies

ovember 16: v England. 

African News Agency (ANA)


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