She hit the winning runs to squad the T20 international series against the West Indies, and now youngster Saarah Smith’s Proteas career will bloom even further.
The 19-year-old Western Province star Smith was included in the 15-member Proteas Women squad on Tuesday for next month’s ICC World T20 tournament, which will take place in the Caribbean from November 9-24.
Smith was one of three new caps for the recent trip to the West Indies – along with Tumi Sekhukhune and Robyn Searle – where the South Africans came from behind to square the five-match series 2-2.
Batting all-rounder Smith also claimed 2/24 with her off-spinners in the final game.
Cricket South Africa said in a statement on Tuesday that fast bowler Ayabonga Khaka was not considered as she has yet to recover from a shoulder operation.
Experienced duo Shabnim Ismail and wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty were also recalled to the squad after sitting out the recent West Indies tour.
“Good luck to our Proteas Ladies as they head for the West Indies with high expectations for the ICC Women’s World T20,” Cricket SA chief executive Thabang Moroe said.
“They reached the semi-final of this tournament in Bangladesh in 2014, and came agonisingly close to a first appearance in a final in last year’s ICC Women’s World Cup in England.
“The time has now arrived for them to take that next step forward and get into the championship match.
“They can take a lot of justifiable confidence out of their recently completed tour of the West Indies, where they drew both the ODI and T20 Series against their hosts, who are the defending champions for the ICC World T20.
“They also had to make do without a number of key players.
“From CSA’s perspective, we have left no stone unturned in our support for Dané and her team to put them on the same level of preparation as our Proteas men’s team.”
.@13SmithSaarah took two wickets and scored the winning runs for the #ProteasWomen in the 5th & final T20 vs West Indies as South Africa beat the hosts by 3 wickets to draw the series 2-all. #Watch as @SuneLuus interviews her. #AlwaysRising #WIvSA pic.twitter.com/FqKq0IxcpO
The Proteas Women, who will be led by Dané van Niekerk, will face defending champions West Indies, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group A, with their first match on November 12 against Sri Lanka in Gros Islet (4pm SA time).
Proteas World T20 Squad
Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Chloe Tryon (KZN Coastal) Lizelle Lee (North West), Suné Luus (Northerns), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Masabata Klaas (North West), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Marizanne Kapp (EP), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Zintle Mali (Border), Robyn Searle (Gauteng), Tumi Sekhukhune (Easterns), Saarah Smith (WP), Trisha Chetty (Gauteng).
Management: Hilton Moreeng (head coach), Salieg Nackerdien (assistant coach), Sedibu Mohlaba (manager), Abram Ramoadi (performance analyst), Russell Clarke (strength and conditioning coach), Molebatsi Theletsane (physiotherapist), Sipokazi Sokanyile (media liaison).