South Africa go into the T20Is at the back of a drawn ODI series against Pakistan
Having drawn the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Pakistan, South Africa skipper Sune Luus is looking forward to the five-match Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) to prepare for the World T20 that is scheduled to take place next year in Australia. The two teams are currently ranked sixth and seventh in the shortest format and it gives them an ideal opportunity to experiment, especially with some of the players injured.
"It's still a bit difficult with injuries, and having to leave Dane van Niekerk out of the side, but we want to get that winning formula and combinations," said Luus. "Going into these five T20s, it's a good opportunity for us to experiment and to see more or less what the batting line-up will be like and who will bowl where. The World Cup is still a long way away and anything can happen between now and then.
"It's a good opportunity for the girls to showcase their talent and put their hand up for the selectors to say that 'We are here and we are ready for the World Cup'."
The two teams shared the ODI series 1-1 with the third game being tied. Though Luus admitted that the result was not what they expected, she looked at the positives which will help her side go forward. The batters recovered well after being bowled out for 63 in the first game and that should give them confidence for the T20I series starting on Wednesday (May 15).
"A positive we can take out of the three games is the way our batters came back in the second and third ODIs. That was brilliant to see, and all of the batters have huge confidence going into the T20s," reckons Luus.
She also defended her bowlers and called them the "best attack in the world" after they helped draw the series after trailing 0-1. It was the bowling that denied Pakistan their first series win in South Africa - bowling them out for 147 in the second ODI and then defending 265 on a batting paradise to tie the game.
"The three pitches we played on [in the ODIs] were kind of the same. They're just flat wickets. I think we expect the same here. It's going to be a good contest for the batsmen to showcase their talent.
"It's still going to be a bit tough for our pace bowlers, but we know how great they are," she added. "They're the best bowling attack in the world. The way they've stepped up so far has been really good," she added.
Even lead pacer Shabnim Ismail backed the bowlers to continue the job in the T20I series. "It's a mindset for us," Ismail said. "I always say it's 80% mental and 20% skill, so for me it's about going out there and quickly getting the change up between the fifty over and the T20s. We love the adrenaline. The girls love the T20 format much more than the ODI stuff.
"I don't want to say too much and give out our secrets, but we'll go out there and work a lot on our variations," Ismail added. "As a bowling unit, the batters are going to come after us. They always say it's a batter's game, but we bowlers never believe that. We have to go out there and use our variations, and think cricket."