The Momentum Proteas Women followed the example of their male counterparts when they faced Pakistan and beat them by a comprehensive 126 runs to book a place in the Super Sixes stage of the ICC Women's World Cup 2013 at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Tuesday. An unbeaten century and half-century by Marizanne Kapp and Dané van Niekerk respectively ensured that South Africa posted a competitive score of 207/5 after they won the toss and chose to bat first.
The day started off on a shaky note when skipper Mignon du Preez (0) and her deputy, Trisha Chetty (4), failed but Kapp managed a 46-run partnership with Yolandi Potgieter (20) before the latter was caught behind off the bowling of Qanita Jalil. The same bowler struck once more when Cri-Zelda Brits was dispatched without scoring, leaving South Africa on an unsteady 55/4 when Susan Benade (11) walked to the crease.
She shared a 24-run partnership with Kapp before she was run out at the end of the 23rd over. Van Niekerk entered the fray and, along with Kapp, brought some much needed calm to an innings that looked poised to go Pakistan's way. They proceeded with caution at first, but steadily built a partnership that ended with many firsts for the South African side.
Kapp and Van Niekerk's 128-run stand was the highest for South Africa both in a World Cup and in all ODIs. The innings included a six smashed away by Van Niekerk which was the first maximum hit at the ground in the tournament so far. South Africa's 207/5 was also the highest scored made at the ground since the competition's commencement and the side's 126-run victory is their highest in a World Cup since 1997.
Kapp was pleased with her performance, feeling it was a long time coming.
"I'm really glad I was able to pick up my hand and do what was needed for my team today," she said. "The wicket was not easy at all at the start, with the new ball swinging in all directions but I told myself I had to stick it out and make sure that we still hade wickets in hand during the difficult overs. After the ball began to go soft, it made playing much easier and Dané and I just took it from there."
In Pakistan's reply, a buoyant South Africa took no prisoners, grabbing three quick wickets up front thanks to Shabnim Ismail who dismissed Rabiya Shah (1) and Bismah Maroof (4) and Susan Benade, who dispatched Jalil (12). Pakistan, who were 23/3 in the fourth over, could find no answers for the ruthless bowling attack which was soon joined by Kapp, who took three wickets for 18 to cement her claim to the thoroughly deserved Player of the Match award. Marcia Letsoalo also chipped in with two scalps, to end an all round-team effort by the Proteas.
Du Preez was overjoyed to lead her side up two places in the Reliance ODI rankings. South Africa are now provisionally number six in the world, while they await the result of the India/Sri Lanka match currently being played in Mumbai.
"I'm a very proud captain today, we couldn't have made a better comeback," she commented. "I'm especially proud of the way that Kappie (Kapp) and Dané (van Niekerk) stood their ground and did the job for us. We're definitely going to be working on our batting in the next couple of days while we wait to find out who we'll be playing against in the Super Sixes. There will be no room for error when we get there."
South Africa remains in Cuttack for the Super Sixes round and will use the Barabati Stadium as their home ground.