Home Sport Cricket Proteas’ consistency is key for Wolvaardt ahead of ODI decider

Proteas’ consistency is key for Wolvaardt ahead of ODI decider

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Wolvaardt and her Proteas team are expecting Sri Lanka to come hard at them in the final fixture on Wednesday at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom.

The Proteas skipper Laura Wolvaardt become the leading run scorer for South Africa in the ODI format after her unbeaten century in Kimberley at the weekend. File Picture: Sanka Vidanagama, AFP

Obakeng Meletse

The Proteas Women beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the second ODI in Kimberley with 14 balls to spare on Saturday, but it was a victory that required them to dig deep to get a result worth its weight in diamonds.

The Proteas went 1-0 up in the three-match series and saw Laura Wolvaardt become the leading run scorer for South Africa in the format during that process. The stylish right-hander played herself into the history books with a match-winning knock of 110 off 141 balls under pressure on a tricky and slow Diamond Oval wicket in the Diamond City.

The 24-year-old has shown a lot of maturity and balance in her game and smashed Mignon du Preez’s record having played 60 matches fewer. It’s ideal that her sixth career century came in conditions similar to those Wolvaardt and her Proteas side will be facing at the next two ICC events in Bangladesh (the World T20 Cup) and India (the Women’s Cricket World Cup).

The Proteas lost two quick wickets inside the PowerPlay chasing a tricky 230 runs, and with that early setback a lot of patience and graft was the order of the rest of the innings. Wolvaardt and Marizanne Kapp (80 off 84 balls) combined for a 147-runs partnership that saw the Proteas home, and continued their decent run of form in this format.

“My biggest learning was patience,” Wolvaardt said after the match.

“I got frustrated in the middle because their spinners are quite crafty and I think the wicket suited their attack quite a bit. They started bowling slower and slower and they got some turn, which was tough to face.

“It was definitely one of my tougher innings. Kappie took a bit of pressure off of me and allowed me to play the anchor role.

“It was not an easy pitch to bat on. We were hoping it would slide on nicely under lights chasing, but there were one or two that started bouncing funnier, and it got a bit lower and slower as the night went on. Our initial thought was it would skid on more and spin less, but it was tricky.”

Wolvaardt admitted that the win meant more for her and the team as the two points will go a long way towards their automatic World Cup qualification, but they are expecting Sri Lanka to come hard at them in the final fixture on Wednesday at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom (2pm start).

The Proteas began the T20 series on the same note, winning the first one but ended up losing it 2-1, handing the islanders their first series win in South Africa. The third ODI will also decide the series after the first match was washed out.

A win in Potch is not only vital for points, but it will give them momentum ahead of the World Cup.

Said Wolvaardt: “Normally it’s the other way round: we usually start badly and get better as the series goes on, but so far we have started well in both series. “I was glad we were able to back it up with a win. The third game will be very important for us from an overall team consistency aspect.”

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