“A special innings in any format”. “A phenomenal innings”.
That was how BBC commentator Kevin Howells and summariser Lauren Winfield-Hill described Laura’s Wolvaardt’s masterful, unbeaten 90 off 49 balls as Northern Superchargers chased a Women’s Hundred record 161 to beat Manchester Originals on Sunday.
“There was elegance, brutality, skill and nerve in that innings to see Superchargers over the line,” added Howells.
He wasn’t wrong.
The South Africa international, 23, perfectly timed her innings and struck 13 fours and two sixes as Superchargers got over the line with one ball to spare.
Her side were always behind the eight-ball, needing 89 from 50 balls and 35 from the final 15, but Wolvaardt turned the game on its head.
Four, four, six, four off Lea Tahuhu and suddenly the hosts were the favourites.
They still needed 11 off the final five balls after a tight set from Kate Cross, but the pressure told on the Originals.
Deandra Dottin, who had earlier smashed a sensational 68 off 30 balls, including five sixes, started with a no-ball, before fumbling and passing up a clear run-out opportunity.
It was enough to leave the former West Indies international in tears in the dugout post game as she now prepares to return home for a new 60-ball competition.
On the other hand, Wolvaardt strolled off with a beaming smile on her face as a sun-soaked Headingley stood and applauded a new hero.
“I feel like the games before this I tried to whack it just way too hard,” Wolvaardt told Sky Sports.
“I lost my shape early on but I knew I had a bit more time now with opening and that I just needed to pierce the gaps in the powerplay and I just went with that until the end.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, she added: “When we needed 50 off 20 I knew it would be really tough to win it from there so I knew I had to swing from the hip a little bit and I’m glad it came off.”
Wolvaardt has been a name on many lips this summer after some eye-catching innings for South Africa against England, but there was debate about whether she was wasted in the middle order in the T20 series as England dominated.
It is a topic Wolvaardt is comfortable discussing, saying she “struggled” at the top of the order at the start of her international career,
The 23-year-old averages 17.19 there in international T20s, but that rises to 29 at three and 41 at four.
She was promoted to the top of the order for this game, with India’s Jemimah Rodrigues missing through injury, and the inevitable questions about whether it could be a permanent change were asked.
“I don’t know anymore,” said Wolvaardt. “Today might change my mind a little bit.
“The first couple of balls of my innings are pretty crucial – if I get off to a decent start then I do enjoy opening but you can get bogged down in the powerplay so it is just about finding that balance.”
One thing is certain, as Winfield-Hill said: “If you’ve come today, you’ve got your money’s worth.”
“And they will be back for more, that’s the main thing,” replied Howells.
That’s what The Hundred is all about; people wanting to come back for more.