Lizelle Lee, the South Africa Women opener, said the team was going into the limited-overs series against Pakistan Women confident and determined to do well.
South Africa are hosting Pakistan for three one-day internationals and five Twenty20 Internationals, starting Monday, 6 May. The ODIs are a part of the ICC Women's Championship, and with the two sides on 13 and 12 points respectively after 12 games each, they are both keen to grab vital points.
South Africa had a disappointing run in the Women's T20 World Cup 2018 in the West Indies, and while they have swept Sri Lanka since then, they are leaving little to chance in ensuring a strong turnaround in fortunes.
“The batters are looking really good,” said Lee on Friday, on the sidelines of a national camp. “We played warm-up games on Tuesday and [Thursday], which I think went very well. One of our aims was to get to 280-plus consistently and in both games we did that.
"The big thing about South Africa that was a bad thing for us is that we always lost wickets in clusters and that comes down to being under pressure but not getting singles and finding a workaround. One of the things we’ve worked really hard on is getting that right. A lot of the girls have worked on extra options to play during the game and I think it’s something that took the pressure off them and it was really good to see us executing that in the warm-up games.
"When we go into game one on Monday, we’re going to go hard because we understand the importance of the IWC and the points needed for World Cup qualification," she added. "The way we are batting and bowling now and even fielding gives me confidence that we can do well in this series. We’re definitely going out to get those six points, we’re not going to hold back."
Apart from camps, the players have been busy on the domestic circuit and Lee was happy for the match practice. “Right now, because we’ve played so much cricket we have a team that’s more confident in themselves and their abilities. [W]e’ve been in enough match situations that we don’t panic when things don’t go our way – it’s the healthiest and most competitive that we’ve ever been as a national team."
With the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 coming up early next year, South Africa are paying close attention to the T20Is as well. The big-hitting Lee was careful not to take the Pakistan challenge lightly. After all, the Asian side had defeated them in a warm-up T20 game in the Caribbean last year.
“Pakistan is not a team you should underestimate," she said. "This is preparation for the T20 World Cup next year, which is really big for us. We want to make sure we cover all of our bases before we go out there.”