Laura Wolvaardt.
Laura Wolvaardt's unbeaten half-century has guided South Africa to a shock T20 win over Australia. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

South Africa stun Australia for maiden women’s win

Alex Mitchell January 28, 2024

South Africa captain Laura Wolvaardt hopes Australia’s domination of her side is over after they knocked off the reigning world champions for the first time ever.

In their T20 clash in Canberra, quality bowling on Sunday helped the Proteas hold the hosts to a below-par 6-142, a total they tracked down with six balls to spare thanks to captain Wolvaardt’s unbeaten half-century.

Australia made scoring look tough at Manuka Oval, but South Africa’s openers quickly built the platform they needed to claim the historic win.

Wolvaardt (58 not out) and Tazmin Brits (41) added 75 for the first wicket, the former still there to negotiate a potentially tricky final stanza after the tourists lost 3-22.

It was the 24th time the nations have met in women’s cricket – across ODIs and T20s – and the first time the Proteas have been victorious. A tied ODI in 2016 was the closest they had come previously.

Wolvaardt acknowledged what a stepping-stone the result could be for her team as they look towards October’s T20 World Cup.

“It’s very special, obviously having never beaten them before in any format or game is something we were looking to change and to do it in their own backyard is incredibly special,” she said.

“Especially just with a lot of senior players retiring in the past few years … to have this new dynamic young team just obviously beating the World Champions is something very special and something that hopefully can change our mindset.

“Hopefully the voodoo is a bit broken now and we can win them on a more regular basis.”

Sunday’s result also squared the multi-format series after Australia won Saturday’s opening contest.

Beth Mooney, Chloe Tryon, Grace Harris and Laura Wolvaardt.
 Chloe Tryon and Laura Wolvaardt steered the Proteas to an impressive T20 victory in Canberra. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

Brits, who carried her bat through Saturday’s innings in making 59 not out, continued to sizzle, cracking eight fours in another brilliant knock.

After winning the toss and batting, expectations were high for Australia after they had chased down 6-147 in game one without getting out of second gear.

But they struggled to find gaps or land big blows in a stuttering display, with captain Alyssa Healy (29 off 24 balls) and Grace Harris (31 not out off 18) the only players who looked comfortable at the crease.

Pace bowler Masabata Klaas was particularly dangerous, taking 2-16 from three overs, while spin duo Nonkululeko Mlaba and Chloe Tryon tied things down in the middle overs 

Harris hit three fours and a six in her unbeaten 31, with the Australians taking 18 runs off the final over of the innings.

Grace Harris.
 Grace Harris top-scored for Australia in their T20 loss to South Africa at Manuka Oval. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

Four of the reigning world champions’ last five losses have come when batting first, a statistic Harris said her side might need to look into.

“Chasing, you’ve got the number on the board that you need, and so as a batting group, you can think about how you’re getting the extra boundary ball in the over,” she said.

“Maybe there might be a little tweak here or there, or just a learning on conditions earlier or how we’re going to play a bit more aggressive and get a few more runs on the board.

“But not too much needs to change I don’t think.”