South Africa Women's captain Mignon du Preez believes coming to the tournament on the back of a Twenty20I series win in Bangladesh was crucial to their preparation
Mignon du Preez warns against complacency against their next opponents New Zealand.
South Africa registered its first-ever win at the ICC World Twenty20 when it powered to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the tournament opener in Galle on Wednesday.
"It is a very special win for us, and the girls are thrilled," said Mignon du Preez, the captain. South Africa came into the tournament on the back of a 2-1 Twenty20I series win in Bangladesh, which du Preez felt was crucial to their preparation. "The conditions in Dhaka are very similar and in terms of preparation, that was as close as we could get to the conditions we'd encounter here.
"The win also meant a healthy net run-rate, a factor which du Preez felt would come into the picture if the weather intervened. "Our decision to bowl was actually made keeping in mind the rain," she said. "Duckworth-Lewis method always favours the side chasing, so we didn't want to complicate things, because it is always easier to know what you're chasing in truncated games.
"The win notwithstanding, South Africa can't take anything for granted, given its next opponent is New Zealand, a side it hasn't beaten in the last five outings. "It will be a tough game for sure, but we have nothing to lose,” said du Preez.
"The pressure is on New Zealand and it would be expected to do all the running. People don't expect us to win that game, but the beauty of sport is such that we can pull off a few surprises."
While the South African men's team has climbed to the top of the World rankings in Tests and Twenty20Is, the women's team is still trying to fight for recognition back home. Du Preez felt that having the support of fellow countrymen was important in their quest to popularise the sport. "We definitely need the fan support,” she said. “I think the media also needs to play a role in giving us the exposure, because that is the only way we can grow.
"I think set-up wise, we need a contract system in place, like a few of the other countries, and hopefully Cricket South Africa will help. We want to be treated on par with the men and this is a perfect platform to show what we're capable of."