Wolvaardt blazing a trail in SA cricket

Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 16, 2024


Once in a generation there comes a trail blazer, a record-breaker and record-setter. Laura Wolvaardt is easily among that selected few, a set of talented individuals that push the envelope beyond what many thought was possible.

At 24 years, Wolvaardt has the most runs in One Day Internationals for South Africa, surpassing Mignon du Preez’s tally of 3760 by four runs and she did so in 48 fewer innings.

Wolvaardt does not only have the most ODI centuries for South Africa, but is also the second youngest player to have six, behind Australia’s Meg Lanning. Ongama Gcwabe looks back to Wolvaardt’s Five Memorable ODI Centuries.

105 v Ireland in August 2016

This is the century that got the world to take note of Wolvaardt’s talent and hunger for big scores. Back then the opening batter was just 17-years-old and had been playing international cricket since February of the same year, meaning it had only been about five months since she made her ODI debut.

Nevertheless, Wolvaardt smashed a match-winning century and became the youngest ever South African, men or women, to score an ODI century in the green and gold.

Most importantly, this century revealed Wolvaardt’s character and strong mentality as she scored this century away from The Village in Dublin.

149 v Ireland in May 2017

A year later, Ireland toured South Africa for a quadrangular series which also featured India and Zimbabwe. Facing a familiar attack, Wolvaardt quietly went about her business, smashing a career-best 149 at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom.

It took Wolvaardt 70 balls to get to her half-century on that day, and only took her an additional 53 deliveries to cross the three-figure mark for the second time in her career.

124* v New Zealand in September 2023

This is the century that Wolvaardt termed as her “favourite”. South Africa were chasing 254 in the second ODI at the Oval in Pietermaritzburg, looking to go 2-0 up in a three-match series against New Zealand.

Wolvaardt, in only her second innings as permanent captain, scored an unbeaten 124 to ensure that South Africa had secured an unassailable 2-0 series victory against a dangerous side in the White Ferns.

110 v Sri Lanka in April 2024

This was probably the most pressure Wolvaardt had felt as captain. South Africa had just been beaten 2-1 by Sri Lanka in the T20 series and became the first Proteas women team to lose a series to the sub-continent team. It only made it worse that they lost the series at home.

With the first of three ODIs having been called a No-result, Wolvaardt knew she needed to lead from the front in the second ODI to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The captain scored an unbeaten 110 and shared in a match-winning 144-run stand with Marizanne Kapp (77)

126 v Bangladesh in December 2023

This is one of three of Wolvaardt’s centuries this season, the one that set her opening stand with Tazmin Brits (126) apart as the duo put on a 243-run partnership. This knock played a massive role in Brits getting to her maiden ODI century. Wolvaardt walked Brits through the nerves and used her experience to guide the former Olympian to her first three-figure score.