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Proteas women captain hails ‘cool-headed’ Marizanne Kapp after another World Cup cliffhanger

Proteas women captain hails ‘cool-headed’ Marizanne Kapp after another World Cup cliffhanger
South Africa's Marizanne Kapp (left) celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Brooke Halliday during the 2022 Women's Cricket World Cup match at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, on 17 March 2022. (Photo: MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP)

The Proteas women are four in four after beating hosts New Zealand during another cliffhanger of a contest at the World Cup. Team captain Suné Luus believes these close games will serve them well in the knockout stages.

The Proteas women emerged victorious once again after another closely contested encounter at the One Day International (ODI) Cricket World Cup on Thursday. This time the South Africans dug deep to edge hosts New Zealand by just two wickets.

Key performances from Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka – who claimed eight wickets between them – helped restrict the White Ferns to 228 all out. Laura Wolvaardt (67) and Suné Luus (51) top-scored with the willow, combining for a match-changing 88-run partnership for the third wicket.

As wickets tumbled like dominoes around her, Kapp remained calm to propel South Africa over the line with a quickfire, unbeaten 34 from 35 balls to complement her two-wicket haul for the day. The all-rounder’s heroics earned her the player of the match award, her second in as many games, and drew special praise from skipper Luus after the game.  

“Marizanne has nerves of steel. She definitely handles better than all of us can. So, she’s the right person for that time of the game. She has a lot of experience. She’s played all over the world and in all these kinds of situations… she’s a very calm head. She shows us all how to stay calm, back your skills and finish the game off,” said Luus of the 32-year-old player during the post-game press conference.

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

With this being South Africa’s fourth close-run win from their opening four matches in the World Cup, Luus told reporters that the nerve-wracking victories over Bangladesh, Pakistan, England and now New Zealand are likely to serve South Africa well in the semifinals and beyond.

“Every game sets us up, potentially for the semifinals and for the big games to come. Every game is a learning curve, especially for the players that are making their debut at a World Cup. Every game is a new one, with new situations and the type of pressure they’ve never had to experience before. 

“We take positives out of every game. We look forward and see how we can improve. We talk about the pressures of the game and how we can better handle them,” Luus said.

“We are at a World Cup. None of the games is going to be easy. With Australia, West Indies and India still coming up, we are prepared to play every game hard. Even if it’s tough every time and it takes us to the last over.”

Next for the Proteas is a mouthwatering tie against the ruthless Australia. Just like the South Africans, the reigning T20 world champions are yet to taste defeat at the 50-over spectacle – with four wins from four.  

Luus and her compatriots have five days to prepare for the crunch tie. It’s set to be played on Tuesday, 22 March. DM

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