Marizanne Kapp‚ Shabni Ismail take SA over Sri Lanka hurdle

13 November 2018 - 13:03 By Telford Vice
Proteas' senior women's national team players celebrate a wicket during their opening Women's World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in St Lucia in the West Indies.
Proteas' senior women's national team players celebrate a wicket during their opening Women's World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in St Lucia in the West Indies.
Image: Cricket SA/Twitter

SA’s World T20 (WT20) opener against Sri Lanka in St Lucia on Tuesday dodged the weather‚ but the Lankan batters had nowhere to hide from the precision pace and swing of Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail.

In their first spells of three overs each‚ SA’s new-ball pair effectively won the match. Ismail‚ who took 3/10 in her four fiery overs‚ didn’t shy away from claiming the credit for herself and Kapp.

“I always tell everyone in the world we’re the best opening pair‚” she told reporters in St Lucia.

“The way we performed today displayed our talent.”

With Kapp swinging the ball both ways‚ apparently at will‚ and Ismail maintaining accuracy as she cranked up the pace‚ the Lankans — who were put in to bat — could score only 16 runs in those six overs. Worse‚ they lost both their openers‚ Yasoda Mendis and Chamari Atapattu.

Sri Lanka never recovered and limped to a total of 99/8.

SA threatened to do something similar‚ losing openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt with six runs scored and seven balls bowled.

But Kapp and Dané van Niekerk made the game safe with a stand of 67 that took the South Africans to within 27 runs of victory.

They got there by seven wickets with nine balls to spare.

That helped ease tournament organisers’ worries over the heavy rain that claimed the match between the Lankans and England‚ and is expected to be bothersome into next week.

Ismail is among the fastest bowlers in the women’s game‚ and averaged around 120 kilometres an hour on Tuesday.

“Mignon’s {du Preez] husband always tells me he wants me to get to the 130 mark‚” she joked. “I need to go to gym to pump some iron so I can get there.”

Instead of the gym‚ there was a decent chance — weather permitting — that she and the rest of SA’s attack would spend additional time on the practice pitches.

“Maybe if the rain holds off we can go to the nets and work on our extras‚” Ismail said.

The 24 runs Sri Lanka added in sundries was the biggest contribution to their total.

None were no-balls but 19 were wides. The only innocent in that regard was leg spinner Van Niekerk‚ who took 1/7 from three overs.

But‚ to hear Ismail tell it‚ the South Africans aren’t averse to working on their weaknesses.

“[Coach] Hilton [Moreeng] always tells us it might be our last preparation‚ so we need to be on the button‚ we need to be ready‚” she said.

And the overall mission?

“Have fun and play cricket.”

So far so good‚ but SA will likely have to find another gear against home side and defending champions West Indies on Thursday.

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