Laura Wolvaardt wants more than just flashes of brilliance from Proteas Women

Laura Wolvaardt says she wants her team to be more consistent. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Laura Wolvaardt says she wants her team to be more consistent. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Sep 23, 2023


Proteas skipper Laura Wolvaardt believes New Zealand will come up with better plans in tomorrow’s first ODI, having dismissed the Kiwis for 67 earlier this year.

Interim captain Laura Wolvaardt and her Proteas Women side are high on confidence for tomorrow’s clash against New Zealand after returning home from Pakistan with an ODI series trophy.

The Proteas are set to play at home for the first time since the T20 World Cup final, when they clash with the Kiwis in the first ODI in Potchefstroom (10am start).

The South Africans look to be functioning like a well-oiled machine, with experienced batters scoring centuries and bowlers dismissing the opposition.

On the other hand, the visiting New Zealand outfit head into tomorrow’s game after losing an ODI series 2-1 to Sri Lanka in July.

Despite the series loss, key players in the White Ferns camp had a good tour of Sri Lanka.

Amelia Kerr and captain Sophie Devine scored centuries, while opening batter Suzie Bates registered a half-century in tough conditions.

The visitors demonstrated their quest to get back to winning ways through a dominant performance over the SA Women XI earlier this week.

The White Ferns smashed 345/7 and won the warm-up match by a mammoth 232 runs, beating a side that included Proteas players Nondumiso Shangase and Meike de Ridder.

But Wolvaardt understands the threat New Zealand pose, and despite bowling New Zealand out for 67 in the T20 World Cup in South Africa earlier this year, the Proteas are smart enough to know that the visitors are still a dangerous team.

“We bowled them out for 60 or 80, which doesn’t happen every day with that line-up. We’ll be wary not to take too much out of that game,” said Wolvaardt.

“They just had a tough tournament, and I’m pretty sure they’ll come up with better plans and come at us a bit harder than they did back then.

“New Zealand are a really quality side. I think these (South African) conditions will suit them as well. I think they like the ball coming on a bit better too, and they have a lot of world-class batters.

“So, definitely a tough series ahead for us, but hopefully we’ll be able to hit the ground running in the first game.”

As much as the Proteas had a good ODI series in Pakistan, there’s still room for improvement.

The captain herself and Tazmin Brits at the top of the order have been reliable in setting solid foundations for the middle order, but they tend not to convert their starts into big scores.

This series, with World Cup qualification points up for grabs, will be a perfect time for the side to produce well-rounded performances.

“In the ODIs (in Pakistan), we had two games where we performed really well with the bat, and then that last one did not go as well as we had hoped,” Wolvaardt said.

“For this series, it would just be looking for more consistency in all three departments. I think we’ve shown glimpses of it, but we need it all to come together on the same day.

“Our fielding is a big talking point as well ... I think we can do a lot better in the field this series.”

Most importantly, Wolvaardt is growing in leaps and bounds in her captaincy role despite it being on an interim basis.

With experienced players such as Marizanne Kapp and Chloe Tryon on her side, Wolvaardt is making a strong case to be considered for a long-term leadership role.

“I’m certainly getting the hang of it,” said Wolvaardt.

“This is my first series at home, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m lucky that I have a lot of senior players around me, so they can help.”