Wolvaardt hits ton as SA see off Lankans in T20 opener

Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa celebrates her 100 runs during the 1st Women's T20I match against Sri Lanka at Willowmoore Park on March 27, 2024 in Benoni
Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa celebrates her 100 runs during the 1st Women's T20I match against Sri Lanka at Willowmoore Park on March 27, 2024 in Benoni
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images


A maiden T20 international century by Momentum Proteas captain Laura Wolvaardt put Sri Lanka to the sword as the home team claimed a comfortable 79-run victory in the first T20 International in Benoni on Wednesday evening. 

Wolvaardt recorded a career-best 102 runs from 63 balls alongside 60 from 40 deliveries by all-rounder Marizanne Kapp, who hit four boundaries and three sixes, to ensure SA won the opening game of the series.

The pair shared 116 runs off 80 balls for the second wicket. 

In pursuit of a testing 199-run winning target, Harshitha Samarawickrama (38) and Hasini Perera (30) top-scored for the Lankans, but it was not enough as they were bundled out for 119 with 10 balls remaining in their innings. 

The run chase got off to a shaky start, as they lost openers Chamari Athapaththu (1) and Vishmi Gunaratne (8) to Kapp and Masabata Klaas respectively with just 22 runs on the board. 

Samarawickrama and Perera took their side to 48/2 after seven overs when rain brought a halt to proceedings, with the visitors needing a further 151 runs to win from 78 balls.

When play resumed, Nadine de Klerk removed Hasini Perera (30) before Tumi Sekhukhune grabbed her first wicket to dismiss Kavisha Dilhari (13) with the score on 80/4. 

The visitors lost three quick wickets in Samarawickrama (38), Nilakshika de Silva (2) and Achini Kulasuriya (1) as they slumped to 101/7. 

The final three wickets fell for the addition of only 18 runs as Dercksen and Sekhukhune returned figures of 2/15 and 2/25 from 6.2 overs, while de Klerk, Kapp, Klaas and Chloe Tryon claimed one wicket each.

After being asked to bat first, the Proteas women lost Tazmin Brits (15), caught by Athapaththu off Inoshi Fernando, as Wolvaardt and Kapp closed out the power play on 55/1. 

Their partnership grew to a run-a-ball 55 as the visiting bowling attack found wicket-taking tough on the Willowmoore Park pitch. 

The hosts passed the 100-run mark in the 12th over with Wolvaardt going past 50 with a single down to long off in the next over. 

Kapp, who was dropped twice in one over, made the visitors pay as she struck a maximum back past the bowler to bring up a fourth T20I half-century.

A new record for the second wicket at Willowmoore Park was realised when Wolvaart and Kapp took their partnership past 100, as SA reached 135/1 after 15 overs.

Their 116-run stand ended when a Kapp top edge saw de Silva complete the catch off the bowling of Kulasuriya. 

Sune Luus, who became SA's most capped T20 player with 115 appearances, registered 14 runs at better than a run a ball before she was run out in the penultimate over. 

The skipper struck three consecutive boundaries to bring up her century but she was bowled by Kulasuriya in the final over. 

Kulasuriya claimed 2/39 while Fernando ended with figures of 1/25 from three overs.




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