Cape Town : South African batter Laura Wolvaardt on Monday said that her team’s must-win match against Bangladesh at the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 is probably one of the most important games of her career.
A Cape Town native Wolvaardt, her family and friends will descend on the iconic Newlands ground to watch the Proteas chase a semifinal 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. Probably one of the most important games of my career,” Wolvaardt said. “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,” she added.
Wolvaardt started her career as an opener but made hay in a middle-order role at the last 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.
It’s supposed to be a very special time for me so to not make many runs is pretty frustrating,” she said. “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,” she added. The Proteas have twice made the semifinals 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. 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,” the batter said.
“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,” she added. Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s long wait for the 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. There are a few things that haven’t gone well for us.
We haven’t put in a full team performance yet,” Nigar said. “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,” she added.
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