Kapp's passion burns bright as Delhi Capitals steamroll Mumbai Indians
The South African allrounder made a crucial contribution in a nine-wicket victory
Delhi Capitals 110 for 1 (Capsey 38*, Shafali 33) beat Mumbai Indians 109 for 8 (Vastrakar 26, Kapp 2-13, Pandey 2-21, Jonassen 2-25) by nine wickets
There's passion in everything Marizanne Kapp does on the cricket field. When she bats, you simply cannot breathe easy until the moment she is out. And when she bowls, she runs in with a fierce look on her face, eyebrows in a slight furrow, and gives it her all, ball after ball. She is always in the ears of the captain or has a hand around a youngster's shoulder. She has put South Africa at the right end of a result many times, not least in the Women's World Cup last year and the T20 World Cup last month.
But it took a while for Kapp to get up to this level in the Women's Premier League. It wasn't until her fourth game for Delhi Capitals that she showed she had truly arrived, picking up the first five-for of her T20 career to demolish Gujarat Giants.
Kapp has an economy rate of 5.29 in the powerplay in the WPL. It is the second best after Nat Sciver-Brunt among bowlers who have bowled at least 50 balls in the first six overs. She has picked up eight wickets in this phase, which are the most by any bowler. Her overall tally of nine is the third-best by a seamer in the WPL behind Capitals team-mate Shikha Pandey and Giants' Kim Garth.
On Monday, another two-wicket burst in the powerplay from Kapp, who was as disciplined and penetrative as ever, punctured Mumbai Indians and helped Capitals top the table with two games left in the league stage. It was Mumbai's second successive loss in the WPL after five straight wins.
In front of a DY Patil stadium crowd that was decked out in blue, Kapp began with three successive dots to Yastika Bhatia. On the third delivery, after the ball was pushed back to her, she passed the ball to mid-on and ran towards captain Meg Lanning at slip to have a quiet word.
What the talk was about is anybody's guess, because no immediate field changes followed. But when she began her second over, a deep backward square leg was in place for Bhatia, instead of the fine leg in the opening over. The short one was coming. Or at least that's what she wanted the batter to think. And it worked.
Bhatia was caught on the back foot to a ball that was pitched up and moving across her. It took her outside edge and landed safely in the mitts of the wicketkeeper.
Kapp was delighted. Lanning was delighted. Bhatia knew she had been outsmarted.
"The day that I actually took my fiver [five-wicket haul] here, I was crying in the bus on my way here [DY Patil Stadium] because I knew Dane [van Niekerk] was retiring."Marizanne Kapp
Kapp then used the nip-backer off a length to get the better of Nat Sciver-Brunt. She bowled it around off and got it to move in past Sciver-Brunt's mow across the line to castle her. A first-ball duck for the Mumbai allrounder. Capitals had managed to rock the 'home side' early.
Bhatia and Sciver-Brunt had combined for almost 39 percent of the runs Mumbai had scored in the competition in the first six games. In fact, about 84 per cent of all Mumbai's runs before Monday were scored by their top four batters. And in eight balls, Kapp had managed to see the back of two of them. In doing that, she had figures of 3-0-10-2 in the first six overs.
The past couple of years have really tested Kapp and her partner Dane van Niekerk. While Kapp reached the heights of success, winning the women's Hundred, twice, the Women's Big Bash League, once, and being part of the first senior South African cricket team to ever play a World Cup final, her partner van Niekerk was snubbed by not one but two teams who had initially appointed her as captain. The Oval Invincibles left her out in 2022 and South Africa left her out in 2023. All of it led to her retiring from international cricket at age 29.
Kapp admitted it was "a struggle" to keep her focus through all this but she still managed to churn out match-turning performances one after the other.
"The day that I actually took my fiver [five-wicket haul] here, I was crying in the bus on my way here [DY Patil Stadium] because I knew Dane was retiring," she said in the presser after her second Player-of-the-match award in the WPL. "It's been tough but again, I think it's my religion. Jesus Christ has been so good to me especially through those hard patches. I have to mention my team as well. They make it so easy for me to be here.
"I have always been a very shy person but I felt like I am so comfortable with these girls and management. I've just fitted in and they make me feel at home."
On the same pitch she picked up the five-wicket haul, Kapp might not have the volume of wickets to show. But the impact of the two wickets she picked up upfront were on level with, if not more than, those five against Giants. But as has been her nature - of deflecting praise directed at her towards others - she spoke highly of Shikha Pandey's penultimate over that went for just four with hard-hitting Issy Wong and Amanjot Kaur in the middle.
"Always nice to contribute, especially with the new ball. That's my job," Kapp told the broadcaster during the innings break. "I told Shikha [Pandey] that was one of the best death overs I have seen in a long time. So credit to the bowling attack."
While each of Kapp, Pandey and Jess Jonassen picked up two wickets to keep Mumbai to a paltry 109 for 8, it was clearly the Kapp show at the start that set the tone for Capitals' nine-wicket win.
S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo