Marizanne Kapp and Dané van Niekerk take the honours at Lords in the Hundred final
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It was the Marizanne Kapp show at Lord's in the inaugural Hundred competition final with the Proteas Women's team all-rounder showing off her big-match temperament to a global audience.
Kapp, playing alongside her wife Proteas Women's team captain Dané van Niekerk and fellow Proteas fast bowler Shabnim Ismail, produced an excellent performance with both bat and ball to lead the Oval Invincibles to the maiden title.
The 31-year-old recorded the tournament's best figures of 4/9, which included dismissing the Southern Brave's top three all for ducks which they never recovered from in pursuit of the Invincibles' 121/6. It was only fitting that Kapp picked up the last wicket too that saw the Brave dismissed for just 73, sending the Invincibles into raptures.
The four-wicket haul followed a game-changing 26 off just 14 balls earlier towards the backend of the Invincibles innings.
"I wanted to lift my wife (Kapp) up. I was so proud of her," Van Niekerk said from the Lord's change room after the game.
"She is a big match player. I told her last night that she always steps up on the big stage. She's really tired but she pushed through and I'm really proud of her.
"She doesn't understand the impact she had on the game. She came in with the bat and immediately struck it so well with (Alice) Capsy, it changed the momentum for us. They bowled well at us, but again when Kappy and Capsy came together they really changed the momentum. Then she comes in with the ball, and bowls like she's bowling in a Test match, swinging the ball, and we need to get in two slips in a Hundred game. I tried to make her understand what she did today."
Kapp certainly enjoyed the experience of playing in a grand final at the home of cricket Lord’s, especially after enduring a strenuous year that has seen her suffer from post-viral fatigue after contracting Covid-19 which also pushed back an overdue medical procedure for an ongoing heart condition.
The Proteas’ veteran also had a thigh injury that kept her from playing five of the eight Invincibles’ group matches.
"I was tired but Shabby (Ismail) kept me going and the pitch suited my bowling. I would love to bowl here again. The ball moved quite a bit and if I stuck to my strengths I'd get a few wickets today," Kapp said.
Van Niekerk also enjoyed a splendid return to competitive cricket after being sidelined through a lower back injury since September last year. The Proteas skipper was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament, due to her finishing as the top run-scorer with 259 runs at an average of 43.16 in addition to her eight wickets.
"If you have a group of incredible players, it makes my life easier. I don't have to look after them at all and I can concentrate on my game. I think the MVP should go to each and every one of them. A lot of players put in a lot of hard yards to perform for their team and their families," Van Niekerk said.
"You need to back that and trust that what you've done is enough. I think I batted really slowly and put the team on the back foot today but the quality of our bowling has taken us through the whole tournament."