ICC: South Africa celebrate famous victory in style

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Photo Credit: ICC

South Africa endured many ups and downs in their thrilling two-wicket win over New Zealand in Hamilton.

The downs were met with shaking heads and silence, the ups celebrated with roars, waving limbs and smiles, most of the time. 

Shabnim Ismail maintained her steely expression throughout the game, but a grin crept across even her face when she was lifted off the ground after Ayabonga Khaka scored the winning run. 

And it was Ismail’s own wicket celebration that was the first of note in the match. 

The fast bowler had already taken the vital wicket of opener Suzie Bates at the top of the innings, but it was the dismissal of Katey Martin that elicited a big reaction. 

After knocking off Martin’s bails, Ismail let out a roar with fire in her eyes and despite the success of the wicket, it felt like steam could have been coming out of her ears. 

Ismail didn’t wait for the umpire to raise their finger, doing it herself before the affable and smiling Martin responded in jest with a gesture of her own reflecting the crazy nature of their battle.

Two overs later and there was another humourous celebration, this time from matchwinner Marizanne Kapp. 

As she picked up her first wicket of the innings in the 46th over, she turned back to her mark smiling profusely and raised her hands above her head. 

It was as if to say ‘at last’ or more likely, ‘that ball? Really?’ – Brooke Halliday had been looking well-placed on 24 from 29 deliveries before she chopped one onto her stumps, missing out on a full toss that deserved to be dispatched. 

While Khaka’s nerve would later be tested at the end of her own batting innings, she was the one to finish New Zealand’s effort off, dismissing Jess Kerr for six as the White Ferns were bowled out for a below-par 228. 

South Africa’s innings would follow a similar pattern to New Zealand’s: lose an opener early, have the other opener make a big score but Laura Wolvaardt was not quite able to match Sophie Devine’s 93 as she made 67. 

And then came the big collapse, New Zealand lost six wickets for 30 runs, South Africa six for 56, but crucially for the Proteas, Kapp was there at the conclusion. 

Having struck a nerveless unbeaten 34 from 35 balls, she could only stand and watch at the non-striker’s end as Khaka had four deliveries to win the game and avoid the super over with the scores level.

It was perhaps an even more agonising experience than when she stood helplessly in the dugout for the final moments of the narrow three-wicket win over England earlier in the tournament. 

In the end, she celebrated in the same way, down on her knees in relief and disbelief, as her teammates jumped for joy around her. 

South Africa had won a fourth nervy game in a row, extending their unbeaten record while putting the hosts’ charge for the semi-finals in massive danger with the White Ferns’ next game against England now a must-win encounter. 

It was a thrilling victory and famous win for South Africa, their first over New Zealand in a World Cup, but Kapp called for an easier ride next time. 

“These [close] games have to stop now,” she said as she picked up a second consecutive Player of the Match award. 

With exciting games coming thick and fast in this ICC Women‘s Cricket World Cup 2022, cricket fans will be celebrating if there are more to come, even if Kapp will not join them. 


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