Protea Women must remain ‘mentally strong’ for T20 World Cup semi-final, says Laura Wolvaardt

Laura Wolvaardt is congratulated by by Proteas Women teammate Tazmin Brits after scoring her half century against Bangladesh held at Newlands. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Laura Wolvaardt is congratulated by by Proteas Women teammate Tazmin Brits after scoring her half century against Bangladesh held at Newlands. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Feb 22, 2023


Cape Town - Laura Wolvaardt believes if the Proteas remain “mentally strong” they could potentially have the beating of England in Friday’s ICC T20 World Cup semi-final at Newlands.

Wolvaardt played a pivotal role in helping the Proteas progress to the knockout stages with an undefeated 66 as part of an unbroken 117-run partnership with her opening partner Tazmin Brits in the final group match against Bangladesh on Tuesday evening.

It ensured the Proteas finished level on points with New Zealand and Sri Lanka, but it was the hosts that advanced by virtue of a superior net run-rate.


The hosts will therefore meet familiar foes England with the two teams having previously contested the 2017 and 2021 50-overs World Cup semi-finals in Bristol and Christchurch respectively.

On both occasions it was the Proteas that came off second best.

ALSO READ: It’s time to stop lumping Proteas Women with the men and their World Cup disappointments

The hosts will also enter Friday’s semi-final as major underdogs, especially after England sent out an ominous warning with their 114-run victory over Pakistan earlier on Tuesday at Newlands.

Wolvaardt is fully aware of the almighty challenge that lies ahead, and also the Proteas’ chequered history against England in World Cup knockout matches, but she still has full faith in her teammates to rise to the occasion on Friday.

“They are a quality side. We’ve lost many semi-finals against them, which is not ideal,” Wolvaardt said.

“We know we’re going to have to play a very good game of cricket. There’s no denying that they’re a very strong side. So, we’re going to have to put up a lot of runs if we want to stand a chance of getting them.

ALSO READ: Destiny awaits as Proteas gear up to face Bangladesh in must-win T20 World Cup clash

“I think if you look at our last semi-final in the 50- over World Cup, I think it was just a total mental lapse. I think we had our worst game of the tournament in that game. We had a good tournament up until that point.

“So, I think we just need to have a lot of discussions to how to stay mentally strong. I think we have the talent and the skill. It’s just a mental game in that semi-final.”

The Proteas were tentative both in the field and with the bat, particularly during the first half of the run-chase against Bangladesh.

They cannot afford such a cautious approach against the English, who will capitalise on any uncertainty within the Proteas unit.

Wolvaardt, though, claims due to the enormity of the challenge it could actually force the Proteas to break free of the shackles.

“I think we made it look a lot harder than it was in the first 10 overs (against Bangladesh).

We struggled to find our timing. I think we were losing our shape a bit. But I think after the drinks break, we just said we still got 10 wickets in hand.

“We just need to be positive. We can't leave this for the last over. And then we started playing a lot better cricket. So then, yeah, we just need to have that mindset from the start next time.

“England play a very explosive, very attacking brand of cricket. So, I think, we’re just going to have to have some good discussions about how we can use that against them.

“And if anything, it gives us a bit more freedom to know that we were going to have to put a lot of runs on the board early on and get off to better starts than what we did.”