News24 Wire
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3 minute read
2 Mar 2020
9:08 am

Proteas rich in match winners after Wolvaardt heroics

News24 Wire

The national women's cricket team once relied heavily on a few. The class of 2020 has changed that dynamic.

Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa in action during the recent series against Pakistan. Picture: Getty Images

The Proteas Women , with one pool game left to play against the West Indies on Tuesday, have already punched their ticket to the semi-finals at the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.

South Africa have never contested a World Cup final before in either the 50 over or 20 over formats, but the group of players currently in Australia looks to be more than capable and one of the reasons for that is the depth of match-winners they have in their side.

In years past, the Proteas relied far too heavily on the likes of Marizanne Kapp or Dane van Niekerk for success.

The class of 2020, though, boasts players capable of changing games from the top of their order to the bottom.

The real match winner on Sunday, however, was 20-year-old Laura Wolvaardt.

Coming in with the score at 54/3 after 10 overs, Wolvaardt hit 53* (36) to get her side to a score of 136/6 that was too much for Pakistan.

It was another example of somebody producing the goods when the big-name players didn’t come off, and this innings will be a massive confidence booster for a player who has struggled to find a role in the T20 side.

“The role for her has been very challenging,” Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng said when discussing Wolvaardt’s contribution on Sunday.

“She had to realise that for her to be able to have the impact that she had today, it would require hard work and she needed to be able to adapt in a game.

“The way she’s gone about it in the last two years and the hard work she has been putting in paid off today. It was excellent to see how she went about it, making that role her own when the team really needed her.”

According to Moreeng, there were some harsh discussions with Wolvaardt.

“We sat her down and things didn’t go well for her in T20 at the top of order. All she asked was how to get better and stay in the side and contribute,” he said.

“We looked at options and the style that she plays and where she would be suited best. “If you look at the players around her, she is not the player that will hit sixes as easily as Lizelle Lee would. She brings a different dynamic to the team. She places the ball well and runs between the wickets well, and as she showed today when she needs to hit boundaries she can do so.”

For now, Wolvaardt is operating in somewhat of a floating role, but Moreeng does believe she could have a future as an opener in the format.

“She is still very young and one that absorbs a lot and is a good student,” he said. “We believe that with time she will grow. We’re not saying that she’s not going to open in the future, but if she wants it then she needs to put up her hand and show she can do it when given the opportunity.”

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