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|Dane van Niekerk||7.0||0||33||0||4.71|
|Mignon du Preez||8||6||1||0||133.33|
|Dane van Niekerk||37||43||4||0||86.05|
This Friday is going to be a fascinating day for Cricket lovers in New Zealand and rest of the world. Right before the highly-anticipated clash between New Zealand and India, are South Africa Women going to lock horns with New Zealand Women. The first ODI of the three-match series is to be played at Eden Park, Auckland, on 25th January. This series is of massive significance for the Proteas as it gives them a chance to rise up the ladder and ascertain a berth in the ICC Women's World Cup to be held next year. The top four teams along with the hosts qualify automatically for the marquee event and as of now only Australia, England and New Zealand have cemented their position. Australia are currently at the top of the Championship points table and New Zealand are the host country of the ICC Women's World Cup in 2021.
Even though the Kiwi women do not need to worry about the qualification for World Cup, this series holds significant importance for them as well. With around a year to go for the tournament, New Zealand would want to make most of the opportunity of playing at home against a quality opposition and fine tune their combination.
Led by Sophie Devine, who had a terrific Big Bash League just a month ago will be looking to continue with her form in the absence of Amy Satterthwaite, their regular skipper. Along with Devine, Suzie Bates will hold the key with the bat for the Kiwis and a lot will depend on how these two players do in the upcoming match.
With the ball as well, New Zealand seem to be pretty well balanced. To add to the experience, the selectors have recalled Rachel Priest to the lineup and will assist Lea Tahuhu, who has been New Zealand's best bowler in recent times.
The difference between New Zealand and South Africa on the points table is not much. A series win for the Kiwis will push them above the Proteas and that is what they'll be aiming for in the series. A win will be vital for their quest and we expect them to come out all guns blazing at Auckland.
Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Lauren Down, Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Katie Perkins, Rachel Priest, Amelia Kerr, Hayley Jensen, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Rosemary Mair.
Placed at fifth on the points table, South Africa are in a desperate need of a few points. With mid-table competition getting stiffer and stiffer with every passing match, a couple of points could be a difference between automatic qualification for the World Cup and having to go through a difficult process of playing in the qualifiers. South Africa have a good chance to finish among the top-four sides and are likely to give it their all in the upcoming match as well as the series.
The major change for the Proteas will be the return of their swashbuckling players. Dane van Niekerk, their regular skipper, and Chloe Tyron are set to return to the playing eleven after missing out several important games due to injury. With the likes of Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee available at the top of the order, South African batting looks stronger than ever.
They have a solid middle-order with Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tyron, and Mignon du Preez all in form and available. While South Africa have the services of one of the best bowlers in Women Cricket, Marizanne Kapp, their isn't much experience available apart from her. Their bowlers will need to step up in conducive conditions and if they manage to pick up early wickets, the Proteas will be a tough unit to beat.
Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Sune Luus, Dane van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas.
The two sides are going neck and neck on the points table and this series might well prove to a decisive moment as far as the qualification to the playoffs is concerned. While the match as well as series is insignificant for the hosts in that aspect, it still is of vital importance to get the combination right. Proteas did reasonably well against a potent Indian unit and with Chloe Tyron and Dane van Niekerk back, beating them is going to be an altogether different challenge. Considering the two sides on the basis of recent form and on paper composition, the Proteas are better placed to emerge on top in this upcoming encounter.
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