Laura Wolvaardt celebrates with Trisha Chetty after scoring a half-century against Pakistan at the Sydney Showground Stadium yesterday.  Photo: EPA
Laura Wolvaardt celebrates with Trisha Chetty after scoring a half-century against Pakistan at the Sydney Showground Stadium yesterday. Photo: EPA

Dane': Laura is going to be a legend

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Mar 2, 2020

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Laura Wolvaardt described her magnificent half-century in yesterday’s crucial T20 World Cup victory against Pakistan as the “biggest contribution” she has made for the Proteas.

South Africa qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament on the back of the 20-year-old’s stunning 53 not out, which came off just 36 balls. It was an innings of the highest quality that featured several glorious cover drives both through and over that region. On a surface where the pace was slow and the bounce low, Wolvaardt structured her innings perfectly. The first half of it featured some hard running between the wickets as she nudged the ball cleverly into gaps but when the scoring rate needed acceleration in the final five overs, Wolvaardt provided it in the most elegant manner.

“I’m not a natural big hitter,” Wolvaardt said. “It’s been quite a journey for me to get my spot in this T20 side. I focus on the basics, if the base is really good you can build from there. I’ve been working really hard, figuring out my plans and I’m really happy it’s working out now.”

SA’s team management pushed her down the order from the opener’s spot in the shortest format as she was wasting too many balls in the powerplay, putting extra pressure on her opening partner Lizelle Lee. In the middle order she is forced to play more positively. “It is a new role for the South African side but I’ve been batting in the middle for (Western Province) to get used to it,” said Wolvaardt.

Yesterday, in what was her first knock of the tournament she struck eight fours as SA notched up 136/6 in their 20 overs. “Me not batting in the first two games, is a good thing ... in the ideal scenario for our team, if the innings goes well I don’t bat,” Wolvaardt said.

SA captain Dane van Niekerk was effusive in her praise for her young teammate. “For her to display her skill like that and getting us that winning total, the way she went about it, she is mature beyond her years. She is already an incredible cricketer, but I think she is going to be one of the legends,” Van Niekerk said.

Some disciplined bowling from Van Niekerk (1/17), Shabnim Ismail (1/17) and left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba (1/20) ensured SA achieved their victory relatively comfortably limiting the Pakistanis to 119/5 in their 20 overs. The Proteas’ fielding was again sloppy, leaving Van Niekerk furious at times. Too many balls were knocked on and there were a number of fumbles in the inner-ring in the early stages of Pakistan’s innings. Those problems will need to be resolved ahead of the knockout stage.

Both of the tournament’s semifinals will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

SAs final group game is against the West Indies tomorrow.

@shockerhess 


The Star

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