South Africa have enough depth and talent in their squad to go all the way and claim their maiden ICC Women's World Cup title.
The Proteas put together a strong run in the last edition of the World Cup, but were eventually knocked out in the semi-finals as England beat them by four wickets in a nail-biting thriller.
But South Africa have become an even stronger team in the five years since, and have played the most ODIs among all teams since the 2017 World Cup. Only Australia have a better win-loss ratio than South Africa's 2.6 during this period.
The squad have been dealt a blow with key player Dane van Niekerk ruled out of the tournament with an injury.
In Van Niekerk's absence, senior players like Marizanne Kapp and Mignon du Preez will need to step up in the middle-order. The duo play key roles with their bowling as well, so they have an all-round responsibility to fulfill.
Chloe Tryon adds some much-needed firepower down the order, while Lizelle Lee provides impetus at the top of the order.
Shabnim Ismail will lead South Africa's bowling attack in the tournament. She has been in superb bowling form of late, and will play a key role with the new ball and in the death overs.
The squad contains some impressive young talents as well, with 22-year-old Laura Wolvaardt having established herself as one of the best batters in Women's cricket right now. Young star Nadine de Klerk has become a vital cog in the South Africa bowling attack as well.
2021 turned out to be a very good year for the Proteas, winning 11 and losing only one out of the 15 ODIs they played, with the other two matches ending in ties. They will be eager to carry the momentum forward into the World Cup.
Sune Luus, Marizanne Kapp, lara Goodall, Ayabonga Khaka, Chloe Tryon, Mignon Du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Taznim Brits, Masabata Klaas, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Lizelle Lee, Tumi Sekhukhune, Sinalo Jafta.
- 5 Mar - v BAN
- 11 Mar - v PAK
- 14 Mar - v ENG
- 17 Mar - v NZ
- 22 Mar - v AUS
- 24 Mar - v WI
- 27 Mar - v IND
Best Finish: Semi-finals (2000, 2017)
South Africa have played in six editions of the Women's World Cup so far and have made it to the semi-finals twice. After their appearance in the final four in 2000 it took them 17 years to reach another semi, and this time they went really close to making it to the final.
They rode on Mignon du Preez and Laura Wolvaardt's half-centuries to post a competitive total of 218/6 on the board and then the bowlers bowled tight lines and lengths, making the England batters earn each and every run. Apart from Sarah Taylor, none of the other England batters crossed the score of 50, but they scraped to the target with two wickets and an equal number of deliveries to spare, denying South Africa a spot in the final.
LOOK OUT FOR
The wicketkeeper-batter is the third-highest run-scorer in Women's ODIs since the last World Cup. Lee has scored 1508 runs in 34 matches during this period, at an outstanding average of 53.85, including two centuries and 11 half-centuries.
She bats at the top of the order and is capable of getting her team off to brisk starts on a regular basis. Her strike-rate of 81.55 in the last five years suggests how dangerous a batter she can be.
In Van Niekerk's absence, Kapp will have an even more vital role to play for South Africa. She will be the most experienced player in their middle-order and will have to bowl tightly in the middle overs as well.
Kapp has scored 485 runs in 23 innings since the last World Cup, at a good average of 37.30. She has maintained a good overall strike-rate of 89.81 during this period and has three fifties to her name as well. She has been equally good with her bowling, having claimed 46 wickets at an excellent average of 21.91. Her economy rate of 3.73 during this period shows how capable she is of drying up the runs, and she will be looking to do the same in this mega event.
England - 14 March
It was England who knocked South Africa out of the 2017 World Cup and the Proteas will look to make a statement with a win against them early in the tournament.
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