To Get That Close Is Obviously A Massive Confidence Booster, Says Kapp

(MENAFN- IANS) Bengaluru, June 20 (IANS) After South Africa women narrowly fell short of chasing India's formidable 325 in the second match of the three-match series, Marizanne Kapp, one of the centurions in the second ODI in Bengaluru, hailed the performance as a massive confidence booster for her team. Despite the narrow four-run defeat, Kapp emphasized that this was the brand of cricket South Africa aimed to play as they prepare for next year's 50-over World Cup in India.

South Africa's chase began on a rocky note, with the team reduced to 67 for 3 inside 15 overs on Wednesday. This mirrored their struggle in the series opener, where they collapsed to 33 for 3 before being bowled out for 122.

However, unlike the first match, South Africa mounted a resilient fightback in the second game, led by Laura Wolvaardt, who scored an unbeaten 134. It was only a sensational final over by India's Pooja Vastrakar that denied South Africa a series-leveling win.

"There were a lot of positives today," Kapp said after the game. "To get that close is obviously a massive confidence booster, especially moving forward. We know we can reach that total. But after that first four in the last over, it was our game to lose.

"It's definitely something we would speak about, but in the future, if we could have maybe tried to get Wolfie [Wolvaardt] on strike a bit more, then maybe... there are a lot of things we could have done differently. But again, to come that close, after starting a little bit slower today, we have a lot of positives to take forward, given that we have a World Cup next year."

Kapp's remarks reflected the team's evolving strategy and the aggressive intent they have been working on. She shared insights from a recent meeting with their batting coach following the first ODI.

"He said that if we had scored 100 in 20 overs in that ODI, he would have been happy even if we got bowled out. But to score 122 off the 37 overs, it's not the brand of cricket we want to play. Definitely happy with the way we scored today and got close to the target."

During the chase, Wolvaardt not only anchored the innings but also crossed the 4000 ODI runs milestone, becoming South Africa's highest run-getter in 50-over cricket. Kapp, too, reached a personal milestone, crossing 3000 ODI runs to be fourth on South Africa's all-time list.

Playing as a specialist batter due to workload management, Kapp has visibly enhanced her batting prowess over the past year. Since 2023, she has scored two centuries and four half-centuries in 15 innings, averaging 68.20 in this format.

Coming in at 67 for 3, Kapp thrived under pressure, forming a crucial 184-run partnership off 170 balls with Wolvaardt to bring South Africa tantalizingly close to the target.

"If you look at myself and Wolfie, it's been a few times now that we have been out in the middle," Kapp noted. "The way my batting has gone in the last couple of years, I have been striking at close to 100, so it's just a little bit more natural for me.

"I have found that if I am being positive, I usually score runs more often than not. Whereas she likes to take her time, set herself on, and then go after the bowlers. We don't even have to speak about it. It naturally worked out that way that I am going to be the aggressor, and she takes her time," she said.

Reflecting on her ability to perform under pressure, Kapp said, "At the end of the day, this is why I play cricket for. I believe usually in those situations, I perform, and I pride myself on that. Wolfie and I, we enjoy that. Sometimes, you get a bit annoyed or upset if you are tired but look, no. It's a team sport, and the two of us enjoy batting together. I feel like games like this, situations like this probably bring out the best in myself and Wolfie."



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