Wolvaardt’s Proteas Women record not enough as incredible Athapaththu ton wins it for Sri Lanka

Proteas Women captain Laura Wolvaardt’s superb 184 not out against Sri Lanka on Wednesday was a new SA ODI record score. Photo: BackpagePix

Proteas Women captain Laura Wolvaardt’s superb 184 not out against Sri Lanka on Wednesday was a new SA ODI record score. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 17, 2024



Laura Wolvaardt’s record-breaking innings was not enough as the Proteas Women were beaten by six wickets by Sri Lanka at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on Wednesday night to draw the ODI series 1-1.

Chamari Athapaththu’s ninth career century ensured the islanders leave South Africa without losing any series as the visiting captain smashed an incredible 195 not out off just 139 balls (26x4, 5x6) to chase down the Proteas’ 301-5 in only 44.3 overs.

Sri Lanka scored nine off the first five overs, but didn’t let the pressure cost them wickets as they managed to push on to close the powerplay on 55-0.

There was only one half-chance created by the Proteas, who quickly needed to adjust their game-plan as both openers were beginning to look comfortable.

Vishmi Gunaratne (26) had a slow start and played across a straight one as she was trapped lbw by Delmari Tucker, breaking a brilliant 90-run opening stand with Athapaththu.

Tucker was in the action not long after with a brilliant diving catch at backward point, with golden arm Nadine de Klerk getting in on the action by removing Prasadani Weerakkody for four.

The fall of wickets slowed down the scoring rate, but danger was still lurking at the other end, with skipper Athapaththu still going strong.

The fall of Kavisha Dilhari (zero) brought Nilakshi de Silva (50 off 71 balls, 3x4) to the crease, who with her captain added 179 runs for the fifth wicket and played a perfect anchor innings to see Sri Lanka home with 33 balls to spare.

Ayabonga Khaka (2-54), in her 100th appearance for South Africa, had an eventful 21st over as she picked up two wickets and had another shout turned down by the umpire.

Nonkululeko Mlaba also had a close run-out call, but it wasn’t to be – but South Africa were smelling blood, with Sri Lanka on 124-4.

But Athapaththu and De Silva closed shop and ensured that Sri Lanka left Mzansi with two points, which will go a long way in securing automatic World Cup qualification.

Earlier in the day, Proteas captain Wolvaardt followed up her innings of 110 off 141 balls, striking at 78.01 in Kimberley in last Saturday’s seven-wicket win – which was brilliant under the conditions – with a free-flowing seventh ODI century knock of 184 off 147 balls (23x4, 4x6), striking at 125.17.

It was the highest score by any South African batter and the fifth-highest in the world, with Athapaththu’s unbeaten 195 now ranking her third in ODI history.

Wolvaardt and Lara Goodall (31 off 55) opened the batting for their second match in a row, and their right- and left-hand combination worked well with the visitors failing to create any chances inside the powerplay, the pair put on the first opening century partnership (116 off 128 balls) of the series, with the skipper doing most of the damage.

South Africa lost three wickets for eight runs, with Tucker (one) and Suné Luus (zero) falling cheaply.

Marizanne Kapp (36 off 34, 5x4, 1x6) put on a 60-run partnership with her captain, and Sri Lanka would have been getting flashbacks of the 147-run stand a couple of nights ago in Kimberley.

But Kapp was run out attempting to take a quick single by Weerakkody.

Nadine de Klerk (35 off 48) ensured Wolvaardt had support from the other end to guide South Africa to an intimidating 301 in 50 overs, with Dilhari was the stand-out bowler with 2-47.

But in the end, Sri Lanka chased down the mammoth target with ease.

* Obakeng Meletse was in Potchefstroom to cover the Proteas Women versus Sri Lanka match courtesy of Momentum.