Mignon du Preez is set to become the first South African woman to play 100 T20 Internationals when the Proteas face England in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup on Sunday.
“Growing up I always wanted to represent my country and to reach the milestone at the World Cup is pretty special. It really is a dream come true,” commented du Preez.
The right-hander has amassed over 1600 runs during her time in the South African top order at a strike rate of over 100. She’s also played in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League and England’s Super League.
The former captain also captained the team to their maiden T20 World Cup semi-final in 2014.
“We had a final group game against New Zealand,” recalled du Preez.
“They had their bags packed the night before as if they were going to the semis. Our girls saw that and thought ‘no that’s not going to happen – we’re going to make sure those bags are packed for a different reason’
“And that’s exactly what we did. I played one of the better knocks of my career and was named player of the match.”
“Then comes the lowlight. Playing in the semi-final. It was the first time we played on the big stage. The match was televised and the moment got the better of us.”
It’s Du Preez’s seventh T20 World Cup and she is confident that the Proteas can make it all the way to the final of this edition.
“I definitely think this is the year! It just feels different. There’s an excitement around the group that this is the year we take it one step further and bring the trophy back home.”
Du Preez feels the talent in the squad is as good as it has ever been. South Africa are drawn in Pool B and will play England, Thailand, Pakistan and the West Indies.
“This is the first time we have a full-strength squad at a World Cup event. We have come better prepared; with the amount of games we have played as well as the number of players who have competed in these conditions,” noted du Preez.
“We have always come to a World Cup and been one of the less experienced sides. This time around we’re statistically one of the most experienced sides. Three of us have played in all the World Cups and even our younger players bring a lot of experience.”
“The gap has closed in international cricket, especially in the T20 format. We saw in the warm-up games how Sri Lanka thrashed England. Anything can happen on the day.”
“For us, it’s about focusing on our processes and that’s something we can control because we’re not sure what the opposition will dish up on the day. We haven’t played Thailand before, so we don’t know what to expect but we just know you can’t take any team lightly”
While her career has had its ups and downs, she’s relishing her coming of age.
“Once you realize as a batter that you’re going have more bad days than good, you just need to enjoy those good ones when it’s your day. Turning 30 has helped me grow a lot more. Retirement is inevitable, so I just want to make sure that during these next few years, I have fun,” concluded du Preez.