South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk and Australia skipper Meg Lanning will battle for the ODI trophy. Photo: Elesa KurtzSouthern Stars captain Meg Lanning is wary of a “dangerous” South African line-up leading into the one-day series opener at Manuka Oval on Friday.
The Australians enter the clash as the No.1 team in the world, with the South Africans ranked sixth.
But despite their standing as two of women’s cricket’s top six teams, they are relatively unknown to each other having not often met on the field in recent years.
Lanning said it is no excuse to take the foot off the pedal following an away series win in Sri Lanka, with a World Cup to prepare for in June.
“We’re very aware that we’re going to have to play some good cricket to beat them and we’re all really looking forward to the series,” Lanning said.
“They know a little bit about us and we know a bit more about them. [Dane van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez and Marizanne Kapp] did very well in the WBBL last year and are probably their leading players.
“We don’t have too many one-day games before the World Cup next year so we’ve got to make sure that we make the most of all the games that we get against really good opposition.”
Southern Stars fast bowler Holly Ferling said the World Cup is motivation for the hosts to make a dominant start to the series.
“Momentum is such a huge thing in our game,” Ferling said.
“Every game is vital to our preparation and it’s something that we are really aware of and something that we’re going to make sure that we continue to do well with.”
With the Australian men’s team on the receiving end of two thrashings from South Africa, Lanning said a solid start to the series means “a few more people might take notice” of the women’s scene.
Ferling said playing in Canberra provides an “awesome” opportunity to grow the game after running a clinic with Lanning and Ellyse Perry for Tuggeranong’s junior female cricketers.
“I grew up in country Queensland and I had no idea that girls played cricket until I was 14 or 15,” Ferling said.
“To go along now to clinics and even to have these girls here knowing about the Southern Stars and knowing about us as players is really humbling and something that I hope will continue to improve over the years.”
ICC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday: Southern Stars v South Africa at Manuka Oval, 2.30pm.
Sunday: Southern Stars v South Africa at Manuka Oval, 2.30pm.
Southern Stars squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell (vc), Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani