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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Laura Wolvaardt leads SA to series victory over New Zealand with unbeaten century

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Laura Wolvaardt played a captain’s knock on Thursday to lead Proteas women to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand women, a victory that secured the series 2-0 in their favour with one game remaining.

Wolvaardt struck 15 fours on her way to a fourth career century, an unbeaten 124 off 141 deliveries that also etched her name in the history books as the first South African women’s player to score more than three ODI centuries.

At 24 years of age, Wolvaardt has scored 30 half-centuries in her ODI career to go with the four centuries.

“It’s very special to have that stat. When it’s your day it’s your day, I was very happy that I could see it to the end for the team,” said Wolvaardt.

“To finally be able to cross that mark to a hundred, I know I have scored a lot of fifties but don’t always convert that well, it was a really nice feeling.”

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Comfortable chase

South Africa chased down the 254-run target with ease as former captain Sune Luus (53 off 57) carved a half-century followed by Marizanne Kapp’s unbeaten 45.

Despite losing Tazmin Brits (17 off 20) and Lara Goodall (3 off 7) inside the first powerplay, South Africa’s batting performance was as flawless as it gets with top-order batters taking responsibility.

Wolvaardt said winning the second ODI in Pietermaritzburg was satisfying for the unit.

“(It is) very satisfying especially with all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes,” said Wolvaardt.

This victory marked what was an all-round effort from the team as the bowling attack managed to bowl out a highly experienced New Zealand batting unit.

With the new ball, Kapp (1/50) and Ayabonga Khaka (1/44) kept things quiet and managed to squeeze New Zealand to 36 runs in the first powerplay.

That set a good foundation for Masabata Klaas (2/46) and Nadine de Klerk (3/44) to express themselves as strike-bowlers.

Klass took care of opener Suzie Bates (14 off 29) and the New Zealand captain Sophie Devine (12 off 11) in quick succession before Nonkululeko Mlaba (3/41) ripped through the visitors’ batting lineup.

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Kerr anchors New Zealand innings

Opening batter Amelia Kerr (88 off 110) looked a lot more comfortable batting in the City Oval wicket as she was the only batter to reach a half-century in the visiting camp, but with a lack of partnerships, they just set a below par score.

The series takes to the two sides to Durban where the third and final ODI will be played on Sunday.

Wolvaardt told the media that they are looking to make it a series whitewash with a victory at Kingsmead Stadium.

“Still so much to play for in the next game,” said Wolvaardt.

“(There are) very important points up for grabs for the ICC Championship, so we’ll definitely be looking to win that third one.”

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Brief scores:

NZ Women: 253/10 (Amelia Kerr 88, Green 43, Mlaba 3/41, De Klerk 3/44)

SA Women: 257/3 (Wolvaardt 124*, Luus 53, Tahuhu 2/40, Rowe 1/32)

@imongamagcwabe

Sport

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