Laura Wolvaardt wants to keep going after Indian summer with the bat against Sri Lanka

Proteas Women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt is finding her feet as the team’s captain and best batter. Picture: Marco Longari / AFP

Proteas Women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt is finding her feet as the team’s captain and best batter. Picture: Marco Longari / AFP

Published Apr 18, 2024


It was a night of mixed emotions for Proteas Women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt in the third and final One-Day International against Sri Lanka.

In the first half of the match she produced one of the greatest innings in Women’s cricket, Wolvaardt stroking her way to a South African record 184 off 147 balls to propel her team to 301.

It was her second century of the series, having also scored 110 in the second ODI.

But during the second half of the match she had a front-row seat to Chamari Athapaththu’s scintillating 195, as Sri Lanka chased down the score with a massive 33 balls to spare.

It was a tough one to take for Wolvaardt and the Proteas, who are still trying to cope with the growing pains that comes with a painful rebuild following the retirement of many stalwarts.

The Proteas had lost the T20 series 2-1, before Sri Lanka tied the ODI series with the six-wicket win.

“With 300 on the board you always fancy yourself with a chance of winning,” Wolvaardt said after the match.

“We had a decent first half, we could have pushed 330 if Kappie (Marizanne Kapp) was there for a bit longer, she was absolutely smoking them.

“If was tough toss to lose. I think it was nice to chase on that wicket under the lights. Chamari batted excellently.”

Wolvaardt struggled on the tour of Australia before finding her game during the Sri Lanka series. And she saved her best of the last match of the season, as she blasted the team to a competitive total - some may even say a winning total.

“I’m finally scoring runs now as the season is ending, which is a bit annoying. I would just like to keep going now,” Wolvaardt joked.

“It’s actually silly, because I don think I’m doing that much different at the moment to what I was doing in Australia. In Australia I edged a few times and I was back in the shed early in all of the ODIs.

“My mindset is the same, and I haven’t nicked off this season. I think cricket is just a funny game sometimes.”

The burden of being the team’s new captain may have contributed to the performances in Australia, which comes with the responsibility of having to score the bulk of the runs in the team after the retirement of the likes of Lizelle Lee, Dane van Niekerk and Mignon du Preez over the last few years.

But the knocks against Sri Lanka shows that she is finding her feet as a leader and the team’s star player.

“On days like today is very tough, especially failing to defend 300. It’s not an easy one to take,” Wolvaardt said.

“A lot of that is me and the bowlers setting fields and plans not working and execution not being there, and that is frustrating.

“I have learnt a lot this season, and I think I’m still learning a lot. It’s difficult, I’m slowly getting the hang of it.”

Wolvaardt is also happy with the young team’s progression, even through they would have fancied themselves to beat the Sri Lankans in at least one of the formats.

“I think we’re in a good space. We’re a young group, with a lot of people retiring in a short space of time. Now we have had some good youngsters getting good exposure to international cricket,” he said.

“Nadine de Klerk has been brilliant for us with bat and ball, after she spent a lot of time on the bench last season. So we have found some gems.

“There is still a lot more room for us to grow as a team.”