Newly-appointed Proteas Women captain Laura Wolvaardt is back home and ready to take on the visiting Bangladesh in the third and final T20 at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly on Friday night (6pm start).
Wolvaardt’s return is somewhat a relief to coach Hilton Moreeng’s team having suffered a 13-run defeat in the first T20 last week, a first victory on South African soil for Bangladesh.
Though only 24, Wolvaardt has featured in 60 T20 Internationals in her seven-year career, and her presence in the team – and momentum she brings after winning the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) with the Adelaide Strikers in Australia a week ago – will be invaluable for the hosts.
“It was really special and cool to end the tournament with a win,” Wolvaardt said on Thursday ahead of the third T20 against Bangladesh.
“I had a tough start to the tournament personally, but I was happy with how I turned it around at the end. Hopefully I can bring that form into this series.”
As captain, Wolvaardt has kept tabs on how the team performed in her absence during the first T20, and has identified areas of improvement heading into Friday’s match – with the second game in Kimberley on Wednesday rained out.
The top-order batter also recognised the positives from the team’s efforts on Sunday and the captain is looking forward to walking away with a win on Friday night to draw the series 1-1.
“We weren’t really at our best in all three departments, having looked at some of the footage. There’s a lot of discussions that we had about areas that we can tighten up on, both with the bat and the ball, and in the field as well,” said Wolvaardt.
“In saying that, I do think that there were a lot of positives in the game … the way Anneke (Bosch) and Tazmin (Brits) started with the bat against spin was really good. I think it’s just doing the better things for longer.
“It’s disappointing to not to be in a position where we can win the series with the rain, but it is what it is. I think we will definitely fight to the end in that last game.
“We definitely wouldn’t want to come away with a loss. A draw sounds a lot better, so we’ll be reviewing our plans, and hopefully we can walk away with a win.”
South Africa have won only one of their past five T20s, including a 3-0 series whitewash in Pakistan in September and a 1-1 series draw here at home against New Zealand.
With the ODI series starting next week, the skipper emphasised the importance of having a good performance on Friday night in order to carry some positive momentum into the next leg of the tour.
“Momentum in cricket plays a really big role, so we’ll definitely be looking to win that last game to take it into the ODIs,” Wolvaardt said.