Do or die time for SA women
Momentum Proteas Women captain, Mignon du Preez, admits that it's now or never for her side in the ICC Women's World Cup 2013 in India.
They take on Pakistan on Tuesday in a must-win match for a place in the Super Sixes stage of the tournament on Tuesday.
South Africa, who have yet to win a match in the tournament after losing to New Zealand in their opener by 151 runs, did well to bounce back and narrowly missed out on a win against Australia in their second match on Sunday.
"We took a lot of positives from the match against Australia. The gap between the top four and the bottom four countries in the world is definitely shrinking. We need to brush up on our batting up front but I'm very happy with what we achieved as a bowling and fielding unit. There is always room for improvement of course," Du Preez said.
The Super Sixes section of the tournament will certainly not be easy with Australia and New Zealand having already booked their places, but Du Preez is confident that her side can get into the semifinals.
"We'd have to win every match we play in the Super Sixes but I still have every belief that we can do it and make the semis," she continued.
The mood in the team is still upbeat and optimistic. Having senior players like Cri-Zelda Brits, Marcia Letsoalo and Susan Benade to guide the youngsters has also been a big help to the captain.
Young players with plenty of experience such as 19-year-old Dané van Niekerk, who has been playing for South Africa since she was 15 years old, have also been on hand to give advice and show new comers such as Savanna Cordes and Yolandi Potgieter the ropes.
"This experience has been amazing for me so far and having Cri-Zelda and the others always there to help me has been great," Cordes said.
"When you're new, the pressure of representing your country can sometimes be overwhelming, so it's really nice to know that I can turn to all of them for advice and information."
Tomorrow's match starts at 9am local time at the Barabati Stadium where South Africa have yet to play, but this does not concern the skipper.
"We're going to go out there and play cricket. We aren't worried that we haven't played there yet or that Pakistan have played all of their matches there. We got the chance to see the ground earlier at practice and it looks a fine wicket. The objective is clear: win or go home. We don't want to do the latter so we will come out guns blazing," Du Preez concluded.
Meanwhile, Suné Luus has been confirmed as a replacement player for Dinesha Devnarain in the South Africa squad for the tournament.
Devnarain has had to return to South Africa for personal reasons and is unable to compete in the event.
Luus, a right-handed batter and a legbreak spinner from Pretoria, is 17 years old and has represented South Africa in two ODIs.