Stakes high as Proteas Women shift focus to ODI series

Sinalo Jafta of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Sinalo Jafta of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 8, 2024



The Proteas women shift their focus to their much more fancied format – one-day internationals — when they take on Sri Lanka in the first of three matches at Buffalo Park in Benoni tomorrow.

The Proteas will need to move on quickly from the 2-1 T20 series loss to the island nation, because there will be automatic World Cup points at stake in the coming days and they cannot afford any slip ups.

Sinalo Jafta of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Proteas wicketkeeper Sinalo Jafta revealed that the team understands the stakes.

“We understand how important it is to get to the World Cup without going through qualifiers,” she said.

“We are sitting third or fourth on the standings and (the key) for us is to literally have a strong start like we had in (the T20 series opener in) Benoni, and put our heads down to work to get the six points we need.”

Things certainly spiralled out of control in the T20 series as Sri Lanka clawed their way back from 1-0 down, further denting an already bad record since the Proteas made last year’s T20 World Cup final against Australia. South Africa have won only four out of 17 T20s since.

Looking forward to the ODI series, the Proteas have been slightly better in the format this season and they will look to build on that.

Said Jafta: “The margin for error in T20 cricket is small compared to ODIs where you can make up at the later stage (of an innings), especially with the capacity of our ODI players.

“That’s something we’ve always been strong on. For us now it’s always about starting strong. We’ve lacked that for the past season – to get across the line and have a strong finish.”

Jafta has been an integral part of the Proteas’ limited-overs line-up but missed out on the second and third T20s against Sri Lanka with the 16-year-old Karabo Meso getting the nod ahead of the experienced wicketkeeper-batter.

“When the squad was announced, it was selected with an eye to rotate it to see how everyone would respond. We knew the T20 World Cup was very important and it was key to select a squad and give yourself a chance to see everyone in action,” continued Jafta.

South Africa seemed to struggle in spin-dominated middle overs in the second and third T20s, an area they will need to address with the next two World Cups in the subcontinent.

“It’s not a secret that they’re going to (try to) spin us out. It’s such a different perspective sitting on the outside because you get to see it all,” said Jafta.

“They slow it down. For us, with the batters, it’s to just put your head down and bat because it’s not going to come at a nice pace that we want.

“It’s literally taking us out of our comfort (zone) and if you look ahead to Bangladesh, it’s also slow wickets.”