Proteas Women must on hold tight when they have Australia by the ‘neck’

Marizanne Kapp of South Africa during the 2023 One-Day International Series match between South Africa and Bangladesh at the JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom

Marizanne Kapp feels the Proteas Women are closing the gap on Australia after falling just short of claiming a maiden series win over their much-fancied foes. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Jan 31, 2024


Marizanne Kapp feels the Proteas Women are closing the gap on Australia after falling just short of claiming a maiden series win over the multiple world champions in Hobart.

The veteran all-rounder has faced the juggernaut Aussies numerous times over her stellar 15-year international career, but only tasted victory against them for the first time in the second T20I last week.

And then playing in her 100th T20I on Tuesday evening at the Blundstone Arena, Kapp struck a career-best 75 off 48 balls to set up the Proteas’ 162-7 – the third consecutive highest score by a South African team in T20s against Australia.

“I’ve always felt that in a lot of our World Cup games against Australia, especially in T20 cricket, we’ve had them by the neck but then let them loose,” Kapp said after the five-wicket defeat in the series decider.

Good signs

“But I certainly do feel that in the last three games we have got them in those positions and then we just held them under pressure for a little bit longer, and that’s probably why the games were so much closer this time around.

“It is a very good sign. The way we have been fighting with both bat and ball is so good to see.

“It was just a few basic errors that cost us this game. It has been an amazing journey seeing our team change.

“We’ve got a few new young players and it’s been amazing to be a part of this journey and to see how our team has grown. We can only get stronger as a team.”

Ultimately, it was not enough on the night with Beth Mooney leading the successful run chase with a superb 82 to guide the Aussies home by five wickets with four balls to spare, but Kapp certainly feels the Proteas are getting closer to achieving a maiden series win over their arch-rivals.

The Aussies were made to dig deep in this series by the South Africans.

In fact, it is testament to the Proteas’ growing belief that they felt that they had actually left 20 to 30 runs out on the park after losing the three big wickets of captain Laura Wolvaardt, Tazmin Brits and Sune Luus in the power play.

“With the start we had we probably didn’t expect the game to go the distance it did. Years ago we would probably have been bowled out for 80 to 100. But we fought back with both bat and ball,” she said.

Kapp still finds a way to deliver

The Aussies are, of course, well acquainted with Kapp due to her Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) heroics over the years, but could not still find a way to contain her as she scored all around the wicket.

Kapp has developed her game, particularly after doing the hard work during the winter down at St George’s Park with Warriors and Sunrisers assistant coach Baakier Abrahams, as she has now added a competent leg-side game to her traditional off-side strengths.

It helped her form an invaluable partnership with Anneke Bosch (21) to resurrect the Proteas’ innings before Chloe Tryon (26) and Nadine de Klerk (21) produced bright cameos.

With Mooney leading the run chase by attacking the power play, the Aussies never allowed the required run rate to get too far away from them.

But this Proteas group are a resilient bunch and kept chipping away with left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba managing the first breakthrough when Australian captain Allyssa Healy chipped tamely into the air.

There were further wickets for Tryon (1-23), Masabata Klaas (1-13), De Klerk (1-33) and Ayabonga Khaka (1-30), but ultimately Australia just had too much class and firepower all the way down the order to prevent what could have been a stunning upset by the Proteas.