|Event: The Oval, London Date: August 23rd Weather: 15:00 BST|
|Coverage: Live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website from 14:50 BST|
Highest score for South African women in a test match, first woman to achieve a hat-trick for South Africa in a T20, player of the match awards at The Hundred and Women’s Big Bash League 2021 finals: en an impressive list of accolades belonging to the multitalented talent Marizanne Kapp.
Fiery on the pitch but calm and affable off it, the 32-year-old is one of the biggest names in women’s football. With 200 international wickets and 3275 international races to her name, she is also one of the most skilled.
The South African isn’t just skilled at cricket though, and growing up, Kapp represented her region, Eastern Province, in various sports.
“I have the provincial colors for netball, track and field, cross country and biathlon,” Kapp said.
“I did a little bit of everything growing up and I think it’s something that has helped me and my career.”
As a multi-talented athlete, Kapp had several career options open to her but ultimately there was only one she wanted to pursue: cricket.
Although her mother tried to convince her otherwise.
“When I was younger, cricket was always my first love,” said Kapp.
“But then when I grew up, around 18/19, I still didn’t know much about women’s cricket and you definitely couldn’t make any money playing it and my mum wanted me to study and get a ‘proper job’ obviously thinking there won’t be a future in the sport”.
It was understandable advice, given the lack of funding in women’s football. However, it was a guide that Kapp chose to ignore.
Her love of cricket proved too strong, so she followed her dream of making the South African national team while still a teenager.
Fortunately for Kapp, during her 18-year career, the women’s game has completely transformed and is now much more lucrative than it once was.
“When I started playing for South Africa, I did a little extra training because you didn’t make any money to represent your country and you probably had one or two tours at most a year,” Kapp explained.
“So seeing the way it has grown, I still thank Jesus Christ for the opportunity to make money and play the sport I love so much, it’s amazing to be a part of it.”
The all-rounder has witnessed the spectacular development of women’s football with his wife, South African captain Dane van Niekerk.
The couple, who married in 2018, grew up playing together and became the first female cricketers to be inducted into the Eastern Province Cricket Academy, playing alongside men.
Shortly after, they made their international debut together during the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup.
They have been inseparable ever since and now spend much of their lives traveling the world together playing for teams like South Africa and the Oval Invincibles.
“It’s such a blessing. You get to enjoy the one thing we both love so much, and then on days off you get to spend time with yourself,” she says.
“And then when it’s not going so well, a lot of times the rest of the team, when they’re having a hard time, they don’t have anyone but teammates, which is obviously not the same as having family or loved ones there. “. So definitely that’s something that really helps a lot.
“But it is not always as easy as everyone thinks because we are two different people and if one is doing well and the other is having a hard time, it is very difficult because you cannot be happy because it bothers you that you are not doing very well with the other person.
“Ultimately though, I’m very blessed. It’s so nice to do the world with Dane.”
With the abundance of games and tournaments now on the women’s cricket calendar, the pair share most of their time together on the pitch.
But when they have rare downtime, how do they spend it?
“We’re complete opposites in everything we do and the way we look at things, so usually when we get to the bedroom at night, she doesn’t want anything to do with cricket. She really He doesn’t like to watch cricket, whereas I’m the opposite. Even when I’m in my bedroom, I can’t wait to turn on the TV and watch whatever cricket game is going on,” says Kapp.
“It’s a little harder for me to tune out, but luckily I have someone like Dane. He’s usually like, ‘Cut it out,’ or he’s scolding me and completely stops listening to me if I start talking about a field.”
The duo have shared many successes on the cricket pitch, including winning The Hundred’s inaugural year with the Oval Invincibles.
Captained by van Niekerk, Kapp was the match winner in last year’s final, winning 4-9 in an explosive bowling spell that snatched victory from Southern Brave.
And playing on the big stage on those high-pressure occasions is something he enjoys.
“It brings out the best in me,” Kapp added. “Something I really struggle with is when we play against weaker sides or in preparation games. I think it’s probably because I apply myself better when I have challenges.”
“If we get to the final again, playing at Lord’s would be absolutely amazing. I think last year it was sold out too. It would be amazing to be there again.”
If the reigning champions can make it to the final of the tournament at the home of cricket, you’d have to be brave to bet against Kapp being the match winner once again.