Peerless Kapp takes South Africa over the line to leave England winless

Peerless Kapp takes South Africa over the line to leave England winless

Defending champions lose three in three after South Africa allrounder returns five-for and then hits 42-ball 32

Peerless Kapp Takes South Africa Over The Line To Leave England Winless

Marizanne Kapp starred with the ball and then had to do it with the bat, too, to give South Africa their first win over England at a World Cup in more than two decades – and only the second in the history of the tournament – to leave the defending champions winless and staring at an early exit after three matches.

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Kapp took her first ODI five-for to keep England to under 240 on a slow Bay Oval surface, and then scored 32 off 42 balls to leave South Africa at the doorstep of victory in a tense chase.

After choosing to bowl first and restricting England to 235, South Africa were well-placed on 147 for 2 in the 35th over before losing three wickets for 22 runs. They then needed 57 runs off the last ten overs, 31 off the last five, and ten off the last ten balls after Kapp was dismissed lbw by Anya Shrubsole. Trisha Chetty and Shabnim Ismail, who only bowled half her overs after injuring her left big toe, completed the chase with four balls to spare.

Undefeated South Africa have moved up to second on the points table with the result. England, on the other hand, have become the first defending champions to lose their first three matches. It is also their second major tournament defeat to South Africa, after losing in the T20 World Cup in February 2020.

The match was a mini-summation of both teams’ journey through the tournament so far. While South Africa showcased their ability to handle pressure in the dying stages of a match, England’s fielding woes continued. They dropped three catches and missed a stumping chance, all off South Africa’s top-scorer Laura Wolvaardt, to take their tournament tally of missed opportunities to a dozen.

Wolvaardt was put down on 4, 23, 50 and 62, became South Africa’s highest run-scorer at World Cups, and bettered her best score at a World Cup with 77, which set up South Africa’s chase. She shared in a 56-run second-wicket stand with Tazmin Brits, who notched up her highest score of the tournament so far, and a 73-run third-wicket partnership with captain Sune Luus at a run rate that hovered around four an over. Wolvaardt and Luus took South Africa to the 35th over with 89 runs needed off 96 balls and eight wickets in hand. On paper, a cruise home. But England had other ideas.

After Amy Jones missed a stumping chance off Wolvaardt, she pulled one off when Charlie Dean drew Luus forward into a drive, and Jones dislodged the bails as Luus’ foot was in the air. Ten balls later, Wolvaardt attempted one big shot too many and pulled Kate Cross to midwicket, where Nat Sciver collected. And three overs later, Mignon du Preez’s lean patch continued. She got a thick outside edge as she tried to cut Sophie Ecclestone away and was caught behind to leave her without a score of over 20 in seven ODI innings this year.

The pressure was transferred to the lower order where Kapp and Chloe Tryon had to see off Ecclestone, England’s best bowler on the day, and try to accelerate to the end. They put on 30 in 29 balls before Tryon became the fourth batter in the tournament to be run-out backing up too far at the non-striker’s end. It was up to Kapp, who hit the only six of the match when she flicked a low full toss from Katherine Brunt behind square on the leg-side to reduce the target to 23 off 27 balls. She didn’t see it to the end, though, as she was out lbw in the penultimate over, but the experience of Chetty and Ismail took South Africa home.

In the end, they may reflect that they made heavy weather of a below-par total, with Heather Knight admitting England were 20-30 runs short in their first innings. They were rocked by a Kapp double-strike upfront before Tammy Beaumont and Jones shared a 107-run third-wicket stand. Both brought up half-centuries to give England a platform to build on, but Kapp prevented that from happening. She fired in the throw that ran Jones out and then returned for a strangling death-overs spell, in which she took three wickets in nine balls.

On a pitch that was expected to have something in it for spinners – England even left out opening batter Laura Winfield-Hill to make room for offspinner Dean – Kapp adjusted perfectly. She bowled a consistent line outside the off stump and took pace off the ball, which made her difficult to get away and dangerous to attack, and was backed by a disciplined effort from the rest of the attack.

South Africa were without Ismail from the 20th over but Masabata Klaas conceded at under three an over and the spinners squeezed England, complemented by sharp fielding. After two ordinary efforts in their first two games, South Africa did not drop any catches or miss any run-out chances, a stark contrast to England.

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