An uncharacteristic Sydney Sixers batting stumble grabbed the headlines on Monday, but it’s the form of spearhead Marizanne Kapp that should have the Melbourne Renegades wary ahead of this Saturday’s Rebel WBBL semi-finals.
Despite finishing the regular season on top of the table and boasting a star-studded batting line-up containing Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner, the Sixers suffered their second defeat of the season to seventh-ranked Melbourne Stars at the MCG, bowled out for a lowly 92 in their final match of the home-and-away season.
They couldn’t defend the total as the Stars claimed a five-wicket win, but Kapp’s four-over spell was simply superb.
The right-arm quick found plenty of movement despite a flat MCG wicket, removing her compatriot Lizelle Lee in the opening over without scoring before trapping Ange Reakes lbw.
She finished with figures of 2-9, including one maiden.
“I said I’ve arrived about two months too late, because it’s the first time I actually bowled the ball (well) today,” Kapp told cricket.com.au.
“But it’s a positive sign for me, hopefully I can contribute in the semi and in the final.
“It was moving around on what felt like a pretty flat wicket, so I’m really positive now and hopefully I can do the same at Drummoyne.”
Kapp could well be her own harshest critic, given she’s equal third on the wickets tally at WBBL|04 with 18 scalps from 14 matches at an average of 17.22 and a miserly economy rate of 5.84.
But if the fiery South African believes she’s found another gear heading into finals, the Renegades should beware.
One statistic that surfaced following the match was particularly telling: in four seasons of WBBL cricket, Kapp has conceded fewer than 14 runs from a four-over spell on 12 occasions.
The next best is five, a feat managed only by former Hurricanes pace bowler Julie Hunter and Stars leg-spinner Kristen Beams.
The Sixers and Renegades will meet in the second of Saturday’s semi-finals at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney, with the magenta team out to make their fourth decider in as many seasons.
Kapp said she didn’t expect their performance on Monday – which came in a dead rubber with top spot already sewn up – to rattle the Sixers as they head into the sudden-death encounter.
“We’re probably allowed one or two bad games,” Kapp said. “Unfortunately for us it was really bad today but we’re still positive, the brand of cricket we’re playing has been so good to watch and I’d rather have (a loss) now than in the next two games.
“I think we’ve got plenty of good plans, we can never underestimate (the Renegades), they’ve got some matchwinners as well, but as long as we do what we’ve been doing well we should come out on top.”