Allround Kapp, Khaka four-fer help South Africa survive Dar-Riaz scare, go 2-0 up

Marizanne Kapp in action during the Black Day ODI. © Cricket South Africa

2021 has seen lots of fightback on the cricket field; the men’s Test series between Australia and India witnessed the tourists come back after being pushed back to the wall, while Sri Lanka men’s team displayed a semblance of tussle in the first Test against England. The Ireland and UAE men’s sides also made a match out of seemingly lost position.

For two successive ODIs, Pakistan did the same on their tour of South Africa – the latest instance being on Saturday (January 23), thanks to Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz’s heroics. However, a superior performance by the hosts, thanks to an unbeaten half century by Marizanne Kapp and an ODI best four for 40 for Ayabonga Khaka, helped them defeat the tourists to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the second ODI, ‘Black Day ODI’ in order to raise awareness about gender-based violence in South Africa, of the three-match series at Kingsmead, Durban.

In both the matches, Pakistan had lost the top five under 80 runs and yet, found themselves with a great chance of overhauling South Africa’s total, courtesy some brilliant lower-guard action featuring Dar and some sloppy fielding and death bowling by the hosts.

In better batting conditions in the morning, South Africa were inserted in and were off to a positive start, courtesy Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt. The pair, to use a cliché, mixed caution with aggression, negotiating whatever Diana Baig and Fatima Sana had to throw at them.

That forced Pakistan to look towards spin in as early as the eighth over. Sadia Iqbal found it a bit tough to settle down, though the track assisted spin. Lee was happy to clear the field when given an opportunity.

Just as the hosts looked good to take home early advantage, a fielding brilliance got rid of Wolvaardt and provided the tourists with an opening. At cover-point, Baig dived and returned a flat throw to the wicket-keeper to catch Wolvaardt short, after a mix-up with her partner. For the second successive match, Baig’s throw had caught the opener short, this time for a fluent 27 off 34 balls.

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That brought captain Sune Luus to the middle, who was happy to consume deliveries to get herself in. What worked in the Proteas’ favour was that Lee was keeping the scoreboard ticking nicely, with an odd boundary by Luus. Just when the belligerent opener was on course for a half century – she hit two fours in three balls off Iqbal then – she got a nick behind in a bit to guide one past the ‘keeper. Lee had to walk back for 47.

What then followed was a phase where Pakistan applied brakes on the scoring. Lara Goodall and Luus were unable to score, with Aliya Riaz, Nida Dar, Nashra Sandhu and Iqbal applying the squeeze. Between the 20th and the 30th over, the pair could manage just three hits to the fence as the tourists enjoyed a superior phase.

South Africa then lost Luus for 32 that took 71 balls coming and then Goodall for 26 three balls later. The 52-run partnership had come to a tame end. While the skipper flicked one towards Baig at mid-wicket off Sandhu, the left-handed Goodall got a leading edge of an ungainly heave off Baig.

With the Proteas on 141 for four with the best part of 16 overs left, Kapp walked to the centre and changed the phase of the game. She looked the part right from the word go and found the boundary regularly. She soon saw Mignon du Preez (nine) and Trisha Chetty (12) fall but found an ally in the young Nadine de Klerk (19).

Their 39-run alliance took only 36 balls coming as Kapp completed her ninth ODI fifty in the process. She hit a six and three fours in the last four balls she faced to finish unbeaten on 68. South Africa managed to score 53 off the last five overs and managed to post a score over 250. For Pakistan, Baig and Sandhu returned with two wickets apiece.

In reply, Pakistan’s top order was blown away by Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka. The allrounder got rid of the openers Muneeba Ali (four) and Nahida Khan (zero) before Khaka, who came in for Tumi Sekhukhune, got Javeria Khan (13) to chop one on to her stumps.

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Omaima Sohail looked the part, getting a breezy start – ones that teams crave for chasing a target over 250. She used the pace that was on offer from Shabnim Ismail, playing her 100th ODI, Khaka and Kapp and hit eight fours in her stint. Eventually Khaka got her to mistime one to mid-wicket, ending Sohail’s stay in the middle for 41 – her ODI best.

Kapp picked her third wicket, trapping Sidra Nawaz for six, to have Pakistan reeling at five for 73.

Aliya Riaz played a good hand down the order. © Getty Images

That brought the duo of Dar and Riaz to the middle, who managed to guard themselves from being run out despite having many a mix-ups. The duo played themselves in and managed to keep the score-board moving, adding a record 111 for the sixth wicket. It was an alliance that was as effective as it was amusing. Duly, Dar and Riaz completed their half centuries, before the former holed out to Ismail at deep mid-wicket for 51.

As long as Riaz was in the middle, Pakistan believed they were in the hunt. However, with 28 required from the last 14 balls, she perished for her career best 81 to all but end the tourists’ hopes. A few blows at the end by Fatima Sana (22 not out) helped them reduce the margin of defeat.

Brief Scores: South Africa 252/7 in 50 overs (Marizanne Kapp 68*, Lizelle Lee 47; Diana Baig 2/43, Nashra Sandhu 2/46) beat Pakistan 239/8 in 50 overs (Aliya Riaz 81, Nida Dar 51; Ayabonga Khaka 4/40, Marizanne Kapp 3/44) by 13 runs.