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Proteas ready for more tough encounters against Aussies, says Wolvaardt

SA's Laura Wolvaardt bats during game two of their Women's T20 International series against Australia at Manuka Oval, Canberra, Australia
POSTIVE START: SA's Laura Wolvaardt bats during game two of their Women's T20 International series against Australia at Manuka Oval, Canberra, Australia
Image: MARK METCALFE/GETTY IMAGES

Taking confidence from a competitive series and gaining their first victory against Australia in white-ball cricket provide a platform from which they can launch an assault on their opponents when the two sides meet in their first ODI in Adelaide on Saturday, Momentum Proteas captain Laura Wolvaardt says.

Despite suffering an agonising 2-1 T20 international series loss against the Aussies, in which the SA women broke their duck against the Australians by claiming a maiden win in the second T20 in Canberra, Wolvaardt was confident they will take the learnings from those encounters into the upcoming 50 over series.

With the 50-over series about to get under way, the host nation holds a 4-2 lead in the multi-format series, with 10 points (six points for ODIs and for the Test) still on offer.

“It was a good competitive series for us, taking most games to the last over and getting the one win. 

“Obviously, I would have liked to just be a bit better in the simple things in that last game, just to give ourselves a better chance, but overall it was a very competitive series and I’m pretty happy with how it went,” the right-handed batter said in the prematch press conference on Friday.

In the 15 ODI matches played between the nation’s between 1997 and 2022, Australia dominated with 14 victories, while SA managed one tie against the Aussies in November 2016. 

The last 50-over encounter between the two countries, during the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, saw Australia emerge victorious by five wickets in Wellington, New Zealand, with Meg Lanning’s 135* off 130 balls overshadowing Wolvaardt’s resilient 90 off 134 deliveries. 

Speaking about the mental significance of getting that first win over Australia in any format, Wolvaardt said: “It’s huge, especially in World Cups.

“I think we often face them in a semifinal or a final. 

“Having that knowledge that we’ve never ever beaten them normally doesn’t do us too well but hopefully now that we have that one win against them, we can come hard in this ODI series,” the skipper said.

Returning to Adelaide, where Wolvaardt was part of the Women’s Big Bash League winners, the Adelaide Strikers, she hopes to use her knowledge of the venue to lead her team to victory in the series opener.

Her experience of playing at the Oval could prove to be a key asset for the tourists as they look to make the best use of the conditions when the match gets under way at 5.40am on Saturday morning 

“I think it’s a lot more bouncy than what we’re used to at home.

“We had a good hit-out in the nets at the back and just getting used to the pace and bounce.

“Especially this time of the year, we were on quite slow wickets at home, so it’s just about adjusting to the conditions.

“The outfield looks beautiful, so I’m sure it’ll be nice,” she said.

Asked what key factors they had taken into consideration from a strategic point of view, Wolvaardt said shot selection and how well they used their bowlers could play a pivotal role in the outcome of the match.

“It’s about using different options. Maybe playing a bit squarer and practising our short-ball stuff.

“I’m sure they’ll throw a lot of that as well. It’s just about figuring out the lengths for the bowlers as well.

“They might have to bowl a touch fuller than they normally do.”

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