Sun, 16 Jun 2019

'We're the best bowling attack in the world' - Sune Luus

ESPNCricInfo
15 May 2019, 17:42 GMT+10

2:15 AM ET

South Africa's stand-in captain, Sune Luus, has called her bowling attack "the best in the world" and backed them to make a dent in Pakistan's line-up in the five upcoming Twenty20 Internationals between the two sides.

After sharing the spoils in a one-day series that ended 1-1, with the third match tied, South Africa and Pakistan meet in the first T20I in Pretoria on Wednesday, and Luus expected conditions to favour batting.

"At this time of the year, the pitches in South Africa play mostly the same," Luus said. "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."

South Africa have two bowlers - Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail - ranked among the top 10 ODI bowlers in the world, with Ismail also ranked joint fifth in T20Is. Four of the top five wicket-takers in the ODI series were also part of the home side, and Ismail backed the bowling unit to carry their form into the T20s.

"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. "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."

Luus admitted that the tied ODI series was "not ideal", but insisted that her batting unit had regained any confidence they lost after being bowled out for 63 in the opening match. "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."

The upcoming series marks the latest phase of preparation for next year's ICC Women's T20 World Cup in Australia, with South Africa keen to begin putting their plans in place for the global showpiece.

The tournament is just over ten months away, and South Africa are aiming to use the series as a platform to evaluate different variations against a plucky Pakistan side - ranked seventh to the Proteas women's sixth place in T20 cricket.

"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," Luus explained. "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'."

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