Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Kapp: Proteas may be underdogs in India, but will surprise a few people

- ONGAMA GCWABE ongamagcwa­be@icloud.com

AS the Proteas men begin their campaign in India today, they can learn a thing or two in how the women’s side managed to become the first South African team to reach a World Cup final.

There is nothing quite like representi­ng South Africa at the World Cup.

Yes, all national teams feel unimaginab­le pressure heading into World Cups, but the South African pressure is always different, always notorious and unforgivin­g.

South Africa’s history at World Cups is no fairytale story. There has never been a happy ending in all the World Cup editions that the country have been a part of since 1992.

When it comes to World Cups, there is no formula, and Proteas Women all-rounder Marizanne Kapp knows this all too well, as she has multiple World Cups under her belt.

Kapp was a part of the only senior national team to reach a World Cup final, when the Suné Luus-led Proteas Women team reached the final of the T20I World Cup on home soil earlier this year.

Interestin­gly enough, South Africa lost their opening match of that campaign and also went down to Australia in the group stage, but somehow managed to bring out their best performanc­e in the semi-finals.

Kapp said this week that performing in crunch games was the key to reaching South Africa’s first final in a World Cup at Newlands.

“There’s no specific formula,” the all-rounder said.

“I feel like in the previous World Cups, we played so much better throughout the round-robin games.

“We won a lot more games, but then we just fell short, or we just had our bad game in the semi-finals.

“Whereas this time around (earlier this year), I felt we weren’t as good during the group-stage games, but on the day of the game that mattered most – which is the semi-final – we managed to play our best cricket.

“I can’t tell you anything specific as to why we made that World Cup final. It’s literally who performs best on the day.”

On numerous occasions, South Africa have gone into World Cups with what was considered to be the best team in the world, only to return home empty-handed.

In the last edition in 2019, the Proteas took a less recognised team and exited well before they had gone through their round-robin fixtures.

Moreover, representi­ng South Africa come with their own challenges – the ‘chokers’ tag always follows the team in these events.

“To be honest, there’s a lot of pressure and stress that goes into World Cups,” said Kapp.

“You have to perform because your supporters back in your country expect that of you. As soon as you lose, everyone has bad things to say, and I mean, you don’t go out there trying to lose.

“Everyone goes to a World Cup trying to win a World Cup, so you have to feel for them.

“With the men being underdogs again this year, I think they’ll probably surprise a few people back home, and I really do hope that they do well.”

 ?? SHAUN ROY BackpagePi­x ?? ALL-ROUNDER Marizanne Kapp was one of the stars for the Proteas Women in their run to the T20 World Cup final this year.
SHAUN ROY BackpagePi­x ALL-ROUNDER Marizanne Kapp was one of the stars for the Proteas Women in their run to the T20 World Cup final this year. |

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa