Dubai: South African cricket captain Mignon du Preez has said the competition in the ICC Women's World Cup will be tough but her team has both the talent and skills to do well. South Africa have been clubbed in Group B with Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan for the tournament that will be held in Mumbai from Jan 31. Du Preez said her team is in a strong group but the players are ready for a strong challenge.
"We're facing tough competition but we've got the talent and skills to do well. Australia will most probably be our toughest competition in the group stage. They are the current ICC World Twenty20 champions; probably giving them huge confidence going into the tournament," said Du Preez in an interview. The diminutive batsman said the pressure is also on England.
"However, they are also under a lot of pressure to win this World Cup after recently defeating the current ICC Women's World Cup champions, England, in the final of the ICC WT20. They are very good in all three aspects of the game and have quite a few star players with lots of experience like Lisa Sthalekar, Jodie Fields, Ellyse Perry, Alex Blackwell, Jess Cameron and Meg Lanning," said Du Preez.
New Zealand, the runners up from the 2009 event will also prove a big challenge says the 23-year-old from Pretoria. "Facing the runners-up from the last ICC Women's World Cup in our opening game is definitely going to be a big challenge for us. They are also a very strong side and have made it to the semi-finals and finals numerous times in both formats.
"We have recently played them in the ICC World Twenty20 and we saw that the gap between us and them has definitely closed. We know what we can expect from them, so we just have to work on a few things from our side and ensure that when the momentum is on our side, we need to keep it with us. They also have a lot of experienced players like captain Suzie Bates, bowler Nicola Browne plus the likes of Sara McGlashan, Sian Ruck and Amy Satterthwaite," she said.
Du Preez also feels that Pakistan can always spring a surprise. "Playing against a sub-continent side in the sub-continent is never going to be an easy task especially with the way they have improved over the past few years," admitted Du Preez.
"However, Pakistan will be our main target to help us secure a spot in the Super Sixes. We have quite a good track record against Pakistan and hopefully we can keep it that way. In our recent encounter at the ICC World Twenty20, we had managed to come out on top and have a bit of momentum going for us. Their bowling attack is very powerful and they also have star players like Sana Mir, Nain Abidi, Bismah Maroof and Javeria Khan."