Photo Credit: ICC
South Africa captain Sune Luus hailed a team effort after her side pulled off a last-gasp three-wicket win over holders England in Tauranga.
But there was only one person who deserved the Player of the Match trophy: Marizanne Kapp.
The pace bowler took her first international five-wicket haul in Tauranga, and what a time to do it.
Kapp’s dangerous bowling restricted England to 235 for nine before her 32 runs from 42 balls proved vital as the Proteas emerged at the end of another ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 grandstand finish with the spoils.
Luus had won the toss and, despite the favourable batting conditions early on, chose to bowl, backing her side to chase, but also backing her bowlers.
Kapp struck early by dismissing Danni Wyatt, who was promoted up the order in place of Lauren Winfield-Hill and could only watch on as Laura Wolvaardt took three attempts to hold on to the catch.
Kapp hardly celebrated, perhaps in disbelief at the fine margins of the first wicket, or perhaps focussed only on the job in hand.
It was a massive task for South Africa even as Kapp dismissed captain Heather Knight for five. They had not beaten England in a ODI World Cup for 20 years and had faced semi-final heartbreak against them in the 2017 semi-final.
But sometimes you need the rub of the green to reverse a trend and when Nat Sciver edged the ball onto her hip and watched it deflect back on the toe of the bat and fly to Lizelle Lee at slip, South Africa must have started to believe.
Kapp had to wait a while for her next star turn and this time it was in the field, as she continued to execute the definition of a supreme all-rounder.
The 32-year-old sent a throw straight to Trisha Chetty behind the stumps to whip off the bails and dismiss a well-set Amy Jones for 53, who had earlier been part of a 107-run stand with Tammy Beaumont. It would not be the last time Kapp built the platform for Chetty to take the glory.
But before then, there was just the matter of taking three more wickets, or more accurately the next three wickets, as Katherine Brunt and Sophia Dunkley were dismissed in the space of three balls before Kate Cross provided catching practice for Chloe Tryon.
In a seam attack full of shining lights, one stood out more than the rest as Kapp ended with five for 45 and the match ball for the first time in her career.
With the bat, she had to wait as Wolvaardt made a third score over 40 in this World Cup but she was eventually dismissed on 77, with South Africa well-placed on 158 for four with 14 overs remaining.
Kapp then played the innings her side needed, slow and steady as the run rate zig-zagged just above and below a run a ball.
A six off Brunt helped ease the pressure but Kapp was still frustrated when she was trapped LBW by Anya Shrubsole, a review not able to save her.
All she could do was pass on her infinite wisdom to Chetty and Shabnim Ismail as they looked to chase down the final 10 runs with the same number of deliveries remaining.
They did it with four balls to spare, Chetty hitting the winning run, and while her teammates jumped for joy around her, she was down on her knees, overwhelmed by relief.
Or perhaps remembering the one integral part of the South Africa squad not in New Zealand, their usual captain, and Kapp’s wife, Dane van Niekerk, who was ruled out with a fractured ankle but cheered her side on from home.
Kapp said: “I threw my team into the deep there at the end. I am happy to contribute, this was a big game for us and I’m glad we came through.
“I backed myself at the end. I remember what they did in 2017 in the semi-final. We have been working on a few things and luckily today it came off.
“It is so much harder without her [Dane van Niekerk] but I am glad she watched and this is for her.”