South Africa’s Women’s World Cup team found a novel way to celebrate their 10-wicket thrashing of West Indies on Sunday – extra training!
New-ball pairing Marizanne Kappe (4-14) and Shabnim Ismail (2-16) destroyed the Windies’ top order in the encounter at Grace Road.
Skipper Dane Van Neikerk (4-0) joined in the fun, running through the tail to rout their rivals for 48. The tally was the sixth lowest in Women’s World Cup history.
Openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Woolvardt knocked off the runs in only 38 balls. The result leaves Van Neikerk’s side on course for the Women’s World Cup semis.
Nevertheless, there were no early marks or champagne celebrations. As Van Neikerk and player-of-the-match Kappe were holding court with the press, the rest of the Proteas’ squad were out on the practice wickets.
“We came here to win a World Cup – that is our goal,” said a single-minded Van Neikerk.
“The girls are already training because some in particular need some top ups.
“It is going to be a very tough tournament, so you don’t want to be complacent. The most important thing is to stay on top of your game.
“We know it I not going to be like this every game and we spoke as we came off that we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.
“We don’t want to underestimate anyone and the last thing we want to do is sit in the changing room, have a drink and put our feet up.”
Kappe and Ismail Wreak New-Ball Devastation
Van Neikerk’s words mirrored the focused, ruthless way in which the hapless and still winless West Indians were dispatched.
Having bowled out the Windies for 63 in a pre-tournament warm-up game, South Africa had no hesitation in fielding first.
Ismail was first to strike, pinning Hayley Matthews LBW with just four on the board.
The world’s fastest female bowler soon struck again, sending West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor’s off-stump cartwheeling.
Kappe then took centre stage. Reniece Boyce, dropped by Woolvardt off Ismail in the previous over chipped back a catch to the bowler.
16-3 became 16-4 just one ball later as Kyshona Knight played across a fast, straight one and was plumb.
The hat-trick ball was wide enough to leave, but just two balls later Kappe’s radar was locked in once more, Deandra Dottin’s leg-stump left worse for wear by a venomous Yorker from the world’s number one-ranked pace-bowler.
Kappe was reluctant to blow her own trumpet afterwards, but Van Neikerk was happy to do it for her.
“I probably could not have scripted that any better,” she said.
“We had our plans coming into the game and it worked out to a tee. I’m really proud of the bowlers, especially my two opening bowlers.
“I don’t think they batted badly. I looked at the dismissals just now when we came off and the way the ball has moved any batter in the world would have had trouble playing it.
“Shabnim was bringing them back and Kappe was swinging it miles. We know when they are on song that is what happens and they are going to trouble most of the best batters in the world, if not everyone – world class.”
She was more self-effacing when it came to describing her own remarkable figures. The 4-0 was the first time in Women’s World Cup history a bowler has taken four wickets without conceding a run.
Yet Van Neikerk insisted after a horrible net practice 24 hours earlier her main focus was just getting the ball to bounce.
“Not to sound naïve or anything, but the ball is not coming out great at the moment, so I don’t know what happened,” she said.
“I can’t tell you I bowled to a plan. It was just a case of hoping to land it to be honest because I bowled so many full tosses yesterday. I was just thinking don’t bowl a full toss.”
Chedean Nation’s 26 provided the only resistance for a West Indies side who are no 0-3 in the competition. The second highest individual score was just four.
There might have been crumbs of comfort during the brief run chase, but here too they were found wanting.
Taylor dropped Lee off a skier at square leg, while next ball Woolvardt was dropped at first slip by Anisa Mohammed. Dottin was the luckless bowler on both occasions.
Matthews drew the short straw for post-match press duties. She tried to insist there was no lack of spirit in the camp despite the evidence to the contrary.
She did though admit pride might be all there is left to fight for in this World Cup campaign.
“I wouldn’t say anyone is really struggling [with confidence],” she said.
“We tried to start afresh in this game, but just did not execute our skills. I just think it is a matter of going back to the drawing board and looking at ourselves.
“We need to go into the next couple of games as head on as possible and even if we can’t qualify, just be able to take some respect or pride out of them.”
New Zealand will be the ones to test West Indies’ quest for pride at Taunton on Wednesday. South Africa face England in Bristol in their sternest test yet.