ICC: South Africa’s Wolvaardt embraces must-win Bangladesh clash

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Photo Credit: ICC

Laura Wolvaardt knows the script is written for her to play a starring role in South Africa’s must-win match against Bangladesh.

A Cape Town native, her family and friends will descend on the iconic Newlands ground to watch the Proteas chase a semi-final spot.

And with 50 runs in three innings so far in the tournament, there would be no better time for the dangerous opener to find form.

“Obviously it’s a massive game,” she said. “Probably one of the most important games of my career.

“My family and friends will be there, so the vibe will be incredible, we just need to stay calm and do what we do, and hopefully it will go our way.”

Wolvaardt started her career as an opener but made hay in a middle-order role at the last ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020.

The 23-year-old has returned to the top of the order since January’s Tri-Series.

She averages 41 batting at four and a tick over 18 as an opener, a role in which she has failed to fire at this event.

“It’s never nice not making runs, especially at a home tournament,” she said.

“It’s supposed to be a very special time for me so to not make many runs is pretty frustrating.

“I still feel like I’m hitting the ball pretty well in the nets, so I just need to stay calm and trust that the runs will come when they need to.

“I don’t mind where I bat. Both of the roles are different and have their pros and cons. 

“I don’t think that’s why I’m not scoring runs, I’m really enjoying the opportunity at the top of the order. 

“Most of my dismissals have come outside the powerplay. I’m hoping to make the position mine moving forward.”

The Proteas have twice made the semi-finals at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and Wolvaardt wants her side to embrace the backing of the nation.

“The crowds have been amazing,” she said. 

“There will be lots of people at the game, it’s my home ground at Newlands so the vibe’s going to be incredible. It’s a big game so it’s going to be important to have the home crowd behind us.

“There’s a little bit of extra pressure on the host nation but I enjoyed having all of my family and friends in the crowd.”

Bangladesh’s long wait for a first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup win since their debut in 2014 goes on having lost all three of their games at the event. 

A youthful bowling unit, graced by teenagers Marufa Akter and Shorna Akter, will hope to spoil the Proteas’ party.

Runs have been the sticking point with skipper Nigar Sultana Joty’s 57 against Australia the only score above 31.

Captain Nigar wants to end on a winning note to wash away the memories of a tough tournament 

“We have had a hard time,” she said. “There are a few things that haven’t gone well for us. We haven’t put in a full team performance yet.

“If we can do well and get a win in this game, it will cover up everything. Not quite everything, but if we can get something from the tournament, that will help us in the future. 

“We know there is pressure on them but we will try to stick to our game plan and what we do in every game, playing to our strengths and we look forward to the game.”


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