Sport

CRICKET WORLD CUP

Five-star Kapp propels Proteas women to victory over world champions England

Marizanne Kapp of South Africa celebrates the win during the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup match between South Africa and England at Bay Oval on March 14, 2022 in Tauranga, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

A blistering bowling display by Marizanne Kapp inspired South Africa to a third win on the trot at the ongoing One-Day International World Cup.

South Africa underlined their threat to the rest of the contenders at the One-Day International (ODI) World Cup after beating current holders England by three wickets on Monday morning.

The victory, the Proteas’ first in ODIs over England since 2000, ensured that they maintained their perfect record so far in the competition, having beaten Bangladesh and Pakistan in their opening encounters.

In each of those, with the batters struggling to form partnerships, it took individual bowler brilliance to bamboozle the opponents. Ayabonga Khaka was scintillating against World Cup rookies Bangladesh and Shabnim Ismail starred against Pakistan.  

Against England – who broke South African hearts at the 2017 World Cup as they dumped the Proteas out in the semifinals – it was Marizanne Kapp’s turn to shine. The experienced all-rounder blasted through the English batting line-up after the Proteas had won the toss and elected to bowl first against the defending champions.

By the end of her 10-over shift the 32-year-old had recorded career-best figures of five for 45. It was Kapp’s first five-wicket haul in a storied international career and one that ensured South Africa had a major opportunity to deliver a gigantic blow to the defending champions – who have now lost three in three.

Her wickets included the scalps of Danni Wyatt, skipper Heather Knight, Sophia Dunkley, Katherine Brunt and Kate Cross. Kapp ensured that the England batting innings never took full flight and they were restricted to 235 for nine in their 50 overs.   

“I’ve played about 120 games. It (the five-wicket haul) finally came around. It came in a big game for us as well. I’m just really happy that I could contribute and step up today,” Kapp told journalists after the game.   

Fellow fast bowler Masabata Klaas was also crucial in restricting the English, chipping in with two wickets at the expense of just 28 runs from her eight-over bowling spell. Khaka added another wicket to take her tally for the tournament to seven.  

South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp celebrates a wicket during 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup match between England and South Africa at Bay Oval in Tauranga on March 14, 2022. (Photo by John COWPLAND / AFP)

As if she hadn’t done enough damage with the ball, Kapp then produced a crucial and quickfire knock with the willow, contributing 32 runs from 42 balls to help South Africa reach 236 for seven, and record a significant and symbolic three-wicket win.

Opener Laura Wolvaardt, who has been South Africa’s best performer with the bat so far in the tournament, laid the foundation with a typically classy 77. Her 193 runs so far put her third on the leading run scorers’ list, marginally trailing West Indies’ Hayley Matthews and Australia’s Rachael Haynes.

Despite another nailbiting win for the South Africans, Kapp believes they are gathering momentum and will continue improving game by game.

“The first two games didn’t show the type of cricket we can and want to play. Even today, we scrapped the runs together and managed to get over the line… As from today, I believe this team is just going to get stronger and better with each game,” she said.

Next for the Proteas is another tough contest against hosts New Zealand, who have won two and lost two from their four games to date. The two sides clash on Thursday, 17 March at 3am South African time. DM

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