Wolvaardt calls for Proteas mental toughness in World Cup semi-final

Wolvaardt calls for Proteas mental toughness in World Cup semi-final

Proteas Women batter Laura Wolvaardt has highlighted the need for mental toughness heading into yet another ICC Women's T20 World Cup semi-final, only this time on home soil.

The SA women's cricket team powered their way into the knockout stage of the World Cup, thanks to a 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh at Newlands last night.

They next face England in the semifinals at the same ground on Friday and will be looking to reach their first-ever final at an ICC event, including T20 and 50-over World Cups.

Wolvaardt believes the key to getting over this penultimate hurdle will be in their mental fortitude, which has let them down on previous occasions.

"I think if you look at our last semifinal 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," said Wolvaardt.

"So, I think we just need to have a lot of discussions on how to stay mentally strong. I think we have the talent and the skill, it's just a mental game in that semi-final, I think."

After a shock defeat in the tournament opener against Sri Lanka, Wolvaardt, who registered a T20 career-best 66 not out alongside opening batting partner Tazmin Brits (50 not out), believes the turning point came in their commanding win over New Zealand.

"[It was] obviously a very frustrating way to start the tournament, I think we're very fortunate to be in a position where we're in the semifinals on net run rate," she added.

"A particular moment is probably just the New Zealand game when we restricted them to 60 or 70, or something – I think we just knew then that we were there for the fight.

"I think the fight we showed in that game was really good, so we just knew we needed to take that moving forward in the tournament."

On renewing their rivalry with the English, the 23-year-old believes their opponents' explosive game can be disrupted with a particular game plan.

"They're a quality side, we've lost many semifinals against them, which is not ideal, and they play a very explosive, very attacking brand of cricket, so I think tomorrow we're just going to have to have some good discussions about how we can use that against them," said Wolvaardt.

"And, if anything, it gives us a bit more freedom to know that we're going to have to put on a lot of runs on the board early on, and get off to better starts than what we did [in the tournament so far]."