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Women’s T20 World Cup : Mentality held key for South Africa’s match-winner Laura Wolvaardt

Cape Town : Stylish South African batter Laura Wolvaardt leant on mental strength to chisel out a career best performance and lead her side into the semi-finals of the ICC Womens T20 World Cup 2023.

The Cape Town native made 66, the best T20I score of her life, to help the Proteas secure a fraught ten-wicket victory over Bangladesh and a spot in the final four on Tuesday night.

Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits, who have both struggled for form in the tournament, bore the brunt of Newlands’ nerves in a fraught start to the chase of a below-par 114.

They played out 19 dot balls in the powerplay and both survived scares en route to half-centuries and the highest partnership for any wicket from any team at the event so far.

“Tazmin and I were under a bit of pressure at the halfway mark. We didn’t get off to the best start. We made it look a bit harder than it was up front. It was a very nice wicket to bat on.

They bowled in decent areas. I wasn’t timing it well, there were a couple of balls I mis-timed. So I think it was a case of us staying in it mentally, to take a breath and staying in when it wasn’t really working.

We found a bit of rhythm after the drinks break,” said Wolvaardt after the match. “We had to trust that the runs would come at the end. I’m very happy that we were able to stay in and push it through.

I’ve had a very frustrating tournament so far. If anything I’ve been overthinking it a bit, speaking to too many people. This one feels very good,” she added. England await in Friday’s semi-final with Heather Knight’s side fresh from a T20 World Cup record score of 213.

“They are a quality side. They’ve lost many semi-finals against them, they play a very explosive, attacking brand of cricket,” Wolvaardt said. “We’re going to have some good discussions about how to use that against them.

If anything it gives us a bit of freedom to put runs on the board early on,” she added. Meanwhile, Bangladesh counted four defeats from four and their wait for a first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup victory since their debut in 2014 goes on.

Skipper Nigar Sultana Joty, on whom they have been solely dependent for runs, bemoaned a below-par 113 for six and a host of missed chances in the field. “On this kind of surface, we needed 140 but we couldn’t manage runs in the powerplay,” said Nigar.

“It’s very difficult when you’re defending a small total and you miss so many chances, it’s very difficult for the bowlers and somehow we missed out. We need to learn from that,” she added.

The 25-year old Nigar was keen to stress the value of such a big-stage experience for teenagers Shorna Akter and Marufa Akter. “They have played incredibly well. I’m so grateful they have come into the team and performed.

Every time they are cheering the team and they are very energetic on the field, this is the advantage they bring,” she said.



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