Local Heroes: Meet the Proteas Women Cricket Team!

Inspirational stories about remarkable South Africans!

Chloe Tryon (VC) and Dané van Niekerk (C) (Janine, please cut "Tumi from the image, as she's not part of the core team)

Last year, some amazing young South African cricketers represented SA at the 2018 ICC Women's World Cup T20 in the West Indies, toured to Australia earlier this year and recently beat Sri Lanka in a T20 series. These are the eight key team members.

Dané van Niekerk, Proteas Team Captain (25)

As a child, Pretorian Dané van Niekerk played cricket in her backyard with her brother and dad. He saw her potential but her primary school wouldn’t let a girl play on its team, so he moved her to another school that did! Dané attended Centurion High School. A leg spin bowler, she has appearances in Test, One Day International and Twenty20 International cricket representing South Africa.

Last year, some amazing young South African cricketers represented SA at the 2018 ICC Women's World Cup T20 in the West Indies, toured to Australia earlier this year and recently beat Sri Lanka in a T20 series.

Read about her success in OnRoute's Q&A with Dané van Niekerk, on page 52 or the online article here

Chloe Tryon, Proteas Vice-Captain (25)

All-rounder Chloe hails from Scottsborough, KZN. In the 2010 ICC Women's World Twenty20, she claimed two wickets in her first over. In the same match, she became the first and only woman cricketer to take a wicket with a very first ball of her career in WT20I history. She and Suné Luus set the record for the highest-ever 6th-wicket partnership of 142 runs in the history of Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs).

Chloe has a tertiary qualification in Coaching Science, and is the team entertainer and DJ.

Ayabonga Khaka (26)

Born in Middledrift, Eastern Cape, skilful bowler Ayabonga now lives in Midrand. From age 7 she played Mini-Cricket at Ingwenya Primary School and was the only girl on the team. When she was 14, a girls’ Mini-Cricket team was introduced.

In May last year, she took her 50th wicket in Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs), during the series against Bangladesh. While playing professionally, Ayabonga studied a tertiary qualification in Human Movement Sciences. “It was hard to study because I always had tours, but I did it!” she says.

Masabata Klaas (28)

Medium-pace bowler Masabata was born in Botshabelo, Mpumalanga and now lives in Potchefstroom. She's made more than 25 One Day International appearances and 12 Twenty20 International appearances for our national women's cricket team since her debut in 2010.

She has a tertiary qualification in Project Management from the Potchefstroom Business School. Masabata has a 5-year-old daughter and is deeply grateful for the support of her own mum. “Having a daughter motivates me to play well. When I’m on the field I think of her and I do it for her.”

Lizelle Lee (26)

Batter Lizelle was born in Ermelo, Mpumalanga and now lives in Potchefstroom.

In May 2018, during the series against Bangladesh, she became the third player for Proteas Women to score 2 000 runs in WODIs. Playing for Surrey Stars, Lizelle scored a century in the final of the 2018 Women's Cricket Super League to help the Stars beat Loughborough Lightning. Animal lover Lizelle would be playing hockey if she wasn't playing cricket and is an excellent golfer. Lizelle wanted to be a teacher and enjoys woodwork thanks to her dad who makes cabinets.

Shabnim Ismail (30)

Born in Cravenby where she played cricket and soccer in her neighbourhood streets, Shabnim was scouted by the Western Cape cricket coach. This right-arm fast bowler now lives in Roodepoort, Gauteng.

Shabnim is one of the fastest female bowlers in the world, with one of her deliveries in January 2016 recorded at 128 kilometres per hour, and she's currently SA's all-time leading wicket-taker in both the One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International formats. She advises aspiring professional sportspeople to live their dream and believe in what they want. She has a special interest in sports cars.

Laura Wolvaardt (19)

Opening batter Laura is a Milnerton, Cape Town, resident who graduated from Parklands College in 2017 with seven distinctions and has been accepted to study Medicine at Stellenbosch University.

At age 11, she was selected to play for the WP U19 girls' team. At age 13, she was invited to play for a South Africa Women's U19 invitational team. She was the top scorer in the 2013 Cricket South Africa U19 Girls' Week and was later named the 2013 Cricket South Africa U19 Female Cricketer of the Year. 

In August 2016, Laura became the youngest centurion for South Africa in international cricket, male or female, and was 2017's Women's Newcomer of the Year at Cricket South Africa's annual awards.

Suné Luus (23)

Pretorian all-rounder Suné became the second player to score a half-century and take a five-for in a women's ODI, by scoring 52 runs and taking 6 wickets during an international match. She equalled the record of Anisa Mohammed for picking up the most number of wickets in a single calendar year in Women's ODI cricket, with 37 dismissals in 2016. She and Chloe Tryon set the record for the highest 6th-wicket partnership in a WODI, with 142 runs.

Suné was already playing provincial cricket at the age of 8, in the U13 team. At the age of 12 she was in the U19 team and at the age of 13, she was playing for South Africa. She became a Protea in 2012 at the age of 16, and was 2017 Women's Cricketer of the Year at Cricket South Africa's annual awards.

Suné has a diploma in Sports Science.