The sixth edition of the ICC Women's World T20 presents the South African team another opportunity to add a trophy to a cabinet that is woefully lacking on ICC silverware.
The Dane van Niekerk-led Proteas haven't quite been able to channel the immense cricketing talent that the country possesses into success at multi-nation tournaments, with their only major victory over the years coming in the 2010 ICC Women's Cricket Challenge.
In the five editions of the World T20 that have taken place since 2009, the best that the South Africans have managed is a semi-final finish in 2014. Having spent quite some time in the Caribbean of late, the team will look to improve their record in the tournament and get their hands on one of international cricket's two major trophies.
South Africa's performance in the year 2018 has been a mixed one, dominant in one series while offering a meek surrender in the other. The Proteas began the year with a 1-2 series loss to India in the ongoing ICC Women's Championship, before losing the T20I leg of India's tour 1-3. They, however, easily swept aside the visiting Bangladeshis, cleansweeping both the five-match ODI series and three-match T20I series.
South Africa then went on to tour England for their next ICC Championship assignment, where they started off with a comfortable victory at Worcester before the hosts clawed back in the next two fixtures to walk away series victors. Luck would go on to desert them in the subsequent T20I tri-series, involving the White Ferns as the third team, where they lost three out of four games.
The advantage that van Niekerk and Co have over the other sides in the tournament is acclimatising to the conditions. The Proteas spent nearly a month playing a series of ODIs and T20Is in the Caribbean, in which the two sides finished level in both the series.
World T20 History:
South Africa have been perennial underachievers as far as their World T20 record is concerned. The team has had to bow out in the group stage of every edition barring 2014, in which they managed to reach the last four. They finished second in their group in the 2014 edition on the back of solid performances against Pakistan, Ireland and New Zealand, but were humbled by nine wickets in the semi-final clash.
South Africa's run in the 2016 edition was even more disastrous, as the side went on to lose three out of their four Group A fixtures, including a seven-wicket hammering at the hands of the White Ferns.
With a meagre overall win percentage of 31 in the tournament, which places the them at sixth in the all-time tally, the Proteas certainly will look to improve those numbers with performances that match the immense potential that they possess.
Skipper Van Niekerk is among the most prolific players in the Proteas squad, being the leading run-scorer for her country in the format as well as the third-highest wicket-taker. With the pitches in the Caribbean expected to be on the slower side, her leg-spin could prove decisive.
The opening pair of Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt have also been in good touch of late, with their individual performances playing a key role in shaping recent South African victories, and the side will be dependent on them to provide brisk starts and a solid platform.
With the year 2018 having produced a mixed bag of results as far as the shortest format is concerned, placing the South Africans among the title favourites would be quite liberal. However, the Proteas have got the advantage of having toured the Caribbean recently, and have a good chance of reaching the semis of the tournament.
12 November at Gros Islet: South Africa vs Sri Lanka
14 November at Gros Islet: South Africa vs West Indies
16 November at Gros Islet: South Africa vs England
18 November at Gros Islet: South Africa vs Bangladesh
Squad: Dane van Niekerk (c), Chloe Tryon, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Laura Wolvaardt, Zintle Mali, Robyn Searle, Tumi Sekhukhune, Trisha Chetty, Moseline Daniels, Yolani Fourie