- Opener Laura Wolvaardt was the shining light in South Africa's defeat in the T20 World Cup final on Sunday.
- Wolvaardt finished as the tournament's highest run-scorer.
- Skipper Sune Luus hopes that franchise owners at the IPL and the Big Bash were watching.
If the Proteas had somehow found a way over the line in their T20 World Cup final against Australia at Newlands on Sunday, they would have had Laura Wolvaardt to thank.
READ | Heroic Proteas fall short in World Cup final
After a gutsy display with bat and ball, South Africa ended 19 runs short of their target of 157 and a first-ever World Cup trophy.
Wolvaardt was the star for the home side, crunching 61 (48) as she effectively carried the hopes of a nation on her shoulders.
It was her third consecutive half-century of the competition following her 53 (44) against England in the semi-finals and 66* (56) against Bangladesh in the last group stages fixture.
With scores of 18, 13 and 19 in her first three outings, Wolvaardt finished as the tournament's highest run-scorer with 230 from six innings, ahead of England's Nat Sciver-Brunt (216), Australian duo Beth Mooney (206) and Alyssa Healy (189), and Proteas teammate Tazmin Brits (186).
When the first-ever player auction for the 2023 Women's Indian Premier League (WPL) took place earlier this month, Wolwaardt was one of the surprise omissions, and Proteas captain Sune Luus says she hopes that Wolvaardt's showing at the business end of the World Cup will have franchise owners taking notice.
"I hope the IPL, Big Bash and the Hundred were watching," said Luus on Sunday.
"That was something very special. You want your players to step up on the big occasions, and that's exactly what she did. She showed her class again today.
"At the age of 23, she's still very young. It's very exciting for us as a team to know that she's going to be here for the next 10 years. I'm so excited to be next to her and see her break all the records in the future."
Wolvaardt acknowledged her disappointment at not being picked for the WPL.
"Every woman wants to be picked in that league. It would have been such an incredible experience, so I was obviously disappointed. All I can do is take it as motivation to score more runs," she said.
Speaking on her form at the World Cup, Wolvaardt said she didn't know why she struggled initially and then got better towards the back-end of the competition.
"I wish I could tell you," she said.
"From my point of view, I was doing everything exactly the same. It was just in those first three games, it didn't work at all, and in the last three games, it did.
"I guess that's why cricket is so frustrating sometimes, because I feel my prep before every game has been the same. If anything, I was maybe a bit more positive, but I don't think I changed too much."