Home Sport Cricket Laura Wolvaardt keen to convert 50s into tons

Laura Wolvaardt keen to convert 50s into tons

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Proteas’ star Laura Wolvaardt is hoping to turn more of her One-Day International scores into hundreds after making good starts in the recent series against England.

Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa during the West Indies Women tour of South Africa in January 2022. Picture: Christiaan Kotze, BackpagePix

Johannesburg — Laura Wolvaardt is at once pleased but also a little frustrated with her form in the One-Day format.

She was the Proteas second highest run-scorer in the three match series with England, in which South Africa were soundly beaten by the hosts. She remains the mainstay of the South African batting order and has evolved her game, most notably in how she bats in the power play.

Wolvaardt scored 154 runs in the three ODIs, making two fifties and scoring at a strike of 90.81 — comfortably better than her career strike of 68.41.

“In the last two games, I’ve been in unknown territory where I find myself on 50 at more than a run-a-ball, which I am very happy with. I’ve wanted to work on my starts,” said Wolvaardt.

Although Wolvaardt’s role when Lizelle Lee was in the side, was mostly to anchor the innings, with Lee’s retirement, she’s had an added responsibility. Andrie Steyn and Lara Goodall both struggled with the improved standard that England played with compared to the series where they both shone in Ireland.

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So Wolvaardt has had to bat more aggressively but also to continue to play an anchor role.

“I’ve wanted to use the power play better, so I’m happy to have gotten off to quicker starts. But something isn’t clicking when I get to 50. It’s not that I am losing focus, I just go out and it is something I will talk about with the coach, and see what I can do to restart to get to a hundred.”

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It’s been 16 innings’ since her last century, and in that period she’s passed 50 nine times. If there is a criticism that could be levelled at the 23-year-old it’s that her conversion rate from fifties to hundreds is very poor.

She’s notched up 32 scores of 50 or more in 79 innings, but on just three occasions has she reached a hundred, compare that to England’s opener Tammy Beaumont, who’s surpassed fifty 28 times in 97 innings, and made nine centuries.

“I have had a lot of chances, I’ve just not been able to push through — it’s something (Proteas coach) Hilton (Moreeng) and I have been speaking about in the last week,” said Wolvaardt.

One-Day cricket will take a back seat for the next few months however, as the focus turns to the T20 format, with two major events on the horizon; the Commonwealth Games later this month and next February the T20 World Cup, which will be hosted in South Africa.

“We’ll look to take positives out of this (ODI series),” said Wolvaardt. “If you are spending time in the middle, and batting well you can take that confidence into the T20s. It’s not that big a shift. As a squad, we’ve been around each other for a while and hopefully we can add some refreshed energy and some new ideas.”

Mignon du Preez, who retired from Tests and ODIs earlier this year, has joined the squad and her bubbly and caring nature was already having a positive effect, Wolvaart remarked.

“It’s lovely to have her back. Everyone was energised when they saw her. She’s a real positive influence, she’s like the mom of the group, she’s goes around to everyone and makes sure they are in a good space,” said Wolvaardt

“On the field she’s an incredible cricketer with a really good international and domestic record. I’m looking forward to having her for the T20s that are coming up.”

South Africa and England play the first of three T20 Internationals on Thursday. England currently leads the multi-format series 8-2 — after picking up six points for winning all three ODIs. South Africa will need a clean sweep of the T20s in order to tie the series.

The Proteas’s first match in the Commonwealth Games is on July 30 against New Zealand.

SA T20 Squad for series with England:

Anneke Bosch, Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Maria Masabata Klaas, Sune Luus (capt), Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Shabnim Ismail, Chloe Tryon, Mignon Du Preez, Laura Wolvaardt, Delmi Tucker

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