Wolvaardt's master class helps Proteas reach T20 World Cup semifinal
South Africa 136/6
South Africa won by 17 runs
Laura Wolvaardt played the best T20 innings of her career to set up a comfortable victory for South Africa that sees the Proteas qualify for the semifinal of the T20 World Cup for just the second time.
The elegant 20 year old right hander produced a driving master class in the last five overs to push South Africa’s total beyond Pakistan. On a slow and low pitch, driving was very difficult, but Wolvaardt made it look simple, thrashing the ball through and over the covers to make an unbeaten 53 that came off only 36 balls.
She struck eight fours in an innings of the highest quality. “Given the circumstances, it’s the most valuable contribution I’ve made for the team,” Wolvaardt said.
Conditions weren’t easy for batting, and Dane van Niekerk felt a total in the region of 140 would be sufficient for the South Africans, who smashed a record 195 in their last game in Canberra.
But the pitch at Sydney Showgrounds was low and slow, making shotmaking difficult. Van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee were all victims of the slow pitch.
Batters down the order had to adjust, with running between the wickets crucial. And then Wolvaardt unleashed at the death.
Pakistan were always under pressure and couldn’t build any partnerships. Nonkululeko Mlaba was superb taking 1/20, while Shabnim Ismail was crafty taking 1/17.
South Africa’s fielding was better than against Thailand, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in that department, which will be vital when they do play their semifinal later in the tournament.
The Proteas next face the West Indies, also in Sydney on Wednesday.