On the eve of the biggest tournament in women's cricket, the Momentum Proteas Women are quietly confident of their chances in the group stages of the ICC Women's World Cup 2013 in India. They take on New Zealand (White Ferns) in their opening match at Driems Cricket Stadium in Cuttack on Friday.
"This will be the challenge of our lives," coach Hilton Moreeng said. "We can't fault the preparation that has gone into this project. The team and I have received the best possible support from Cricket South Africa (CSA) and our sponsor Momentum going into this tournament, all that is left is for us to do what we have prepared so hard for."
South Africa, who are joined in Group B by Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan will look to better their past records in the tournament by qualifying for the Super Sixes stage where they aim to get into the semi-finals.
"We're taking this competition one game at a time. We have broken down our objectives and will take them one at a time. First is the opening game and the group stages, then the Super Sixes after that, we will take the rest of the challenges as they come," Captain Mignon du Preez said.
It is agreed by all that the team that adapts to the conditions the best will have a better chance of winning on the day. South Africa started their World Cup preparations with a tour to the West Indies where they drew the five-match ODI series two-all after one of them was rained out. The subcontinent conditions in the Caribbean were able to give them a small taste of what to expect in India.
"The Windies tour helped us garner what we need to work on the most when playing on the subcontinent and that, along with the two warm up matches has shown us exactly where we are in terms of preparation," Moreeng continued. "Tomorrow, we will be out in full force, ready to give our best performance.”
"The time for talking is over, it's time to walk the walk," he concluded.
Group A – England (A1), India (A2), West Indies (A3), Sri Lanka (A4)
Group B – Australia (B1), New Zealand (B2), Pakistan (B3), South Africa (B4)
Tournament schedule (All day matches begin at 0900 while day/night fixtures start at 1430 India time; All matches at CCI will be broadcast in HD by the ICC Broadcast Partner - Star Sports)
1 Feb – England v Sri Lanka, CCI; New Zealand v South Africa, Driems Cricket Ground, Cuttack; Australia v Pakistan, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
3 Feb – India v England, CCI; Sri Lanka v West Indies, MIG; New Zealand v Pakistan, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack; Australia v South Africa, Driems Cricket Ground, Cuttack
5 Feb – India v Sri Lanka, (D/N) CCI; England v West Indies, BKC; Pakistan v South Africa, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack; Australia v New Zealand, Driems Cricket Ground, Cuttack
Super Six Stage
Provided they qualify, each of the top three teams will retain its ranking from the group stage through to the Super Sixes, regardless of their finishing position in the group. For example, England will be ranked A1 whether they finish first, second or third at the end of the group stage. If the fourth ranked team in a group qualifies for the Super Six stage, they will adopt the ranking of the team that they have replaced. For example if Sri Lanka qualifies at the expense of England, Sri Lanka would follow the fixtures for A1 in the Super Six stage.
7 Feb –A4 v B4 (7th v 8th Play Off), Driems Cricket Ground, Cuttack*
8 Feb - A1 v B1, CCI; A2 v B2, BKC; A3 v B3, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
10 Feb - A2 v B1, CCI; A1 v B3, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
11 Feb – A3 v B2, CCI
13 Feb – A1 v B2 (D/N), CCI; A3 v B1, MIG; A2 v B3, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
15 Feb – 5th v 6th Play Off, Barabati Stadium, Cuttack; 3rd v 4th Play Off, CCI
17 Feb – Final (D/N), CCI