Unbeaten Proteas on the verge of World Cup playoffs

The Proteas women are on the verge of qualifying for the ICC Women’s World Cup knockouts with three pool matches remaining, after they sealed their fourth win in a row against hosts New Zealand in Hamilton on Thursday.

It was another tight victory for the Proteas, this time by two wickets with just three balls remaining, and it bodes well for the rest of the competition that they had not yet played their best cricket.

Still without a defeat in the opening round, however, they face their biggest challenge in their next pool stage game against Australia in Wellington on Tuesday next week, where the two pre-tournament favourites will battle it out in a possible prelude to the final.

The Proteas have played Australia in 20 games to date, 15 ODI’s and five T20s and have yet to pick up a win, so they will be chasing history, however Australia have been in ruthless form in the world cup so far and will start as favourites.

“It would be nice to get a good win over the Aussies, they are obviously a world class team and it’s going to take a special performance from our team to beat them,” admitted Luus during the post match press conference.

What will come as a relief to the team is that the match is not the be all and end all, as they have already done the hard work with their four wins and probably need just one more from their last three to make sure of their semifinal spot.

“Since we started this tournament we didn’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves, we were just here to play good cricket and showcase our talent,” explained Luus.

“I think for the coming games it won’t change, we will just keep doing what we’ve been doing because it’s been working.

“So we won’t put any pressure on ourselves for the next three games, but it would be fantastic to get another couple of wins and secure our spot in that semifinals.”

In the match against the White Ferns the hosts batted first, scoring 228 all out with captain Sophie Devine hitting 93, however a late innings collapse saw them lose six wickets for 30 runs, with Shabnim Ismail, 3/27, Ayabonga Khaka, 3/31, and Marizanne Kapp, 2/44, the chief destroyers.

The Proteas chase was then cruising along with Laura Wolvaardt (67) and Sune Luus (51) leading the charge, only for their own collapse of six wickets for 56 runs, left it to player of the match Kapp (34no) to power them home.

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