THE HUNDRED FINAL: Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth by Marizanne Kapp

“Everyone has a plan,” the boxer Mike Tyson once said… “until they get punched in the mouth by Marizanne Kapp.”

Well… okay… he might not have said the last little bit, but it doesn’t make it any less apt.

Kapp came out to bowl with rain in the air, and Oval Invincibles defending 121. It felt like a good total in the conditions, but not one that Southern Brave would have been massively worried about chasing. But within 6 balls of their reply, the match was basically over – Kapp hanging the ball outside off stump, and a bit of away movement doing the rest.

Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley – who between them had scored almost half of Brave’s runs off the bat (45%, to be precise) – trudged back to the famous pavilion with ducks to their names. Gaby Lewis followed 4 balls later – also for a quacker – but it was already academic: Brave were on the floor, with Kapp having delivered the sucker punch.

It wasn’t meant to be this way. Brave were by far the best side over the group stages – winning 7 games and losing only once. Invincibles, in contrast, won just 4 matches, lost 3, and had 1 washed out. But that’s the deal with finals – what happened in the group stages doesn’t matter any more – you have to put it all behind you, and handle the pressure of the big day; and that’s what Invincibles did.

It feels strange to say, but Brave actually played better overall than the last time they were here at Lords, when they won a terrible game of cricket against London Spirit. They made a good start with the ball, restricting Invincibles to 27 off the first 30 balls. A late partnership between Kapp and Alice Capsey – 34 off 21 balls – swung the pendulum a little way back the other way, but the bell wasn’t tolling yet – not until Kapp stepped up with the opening spell that doomed them.

Allowing bowlers to send down two consecutive “overs” (as the 5-ball “sets” are still officially called, if you read the playing conditions) was hailed as one of the most exciting innovations of The Hundred, because it meant you could keep a bowler on if they were bowling well; but we haven’t seen it that often, especially with quick opening bowlers, whose bodies aren’t used to delivering 10 consecutive balls.

And it certainly didn’t seem like it was the plan today – Shabnim Ismail looked like she was expecting to deliver the second set of 5. But with Kapp having taken the wicket of Wyatt with her 4th ball, and then beaten Dunkley’s edge with the 5th, the dye was cast – Kapp continued, with a second slip ramping up the pressure on Dunkley, who cracked the very next ball.

Despite that, Brave held out until the 98th ball, although their chances of victory were so slim that the TV feed appeared to stop bothering with the “Win Predictor”. A partnership between Fi Morris and Tara Norris adding 33 off 28 balls – a run rate which would have made for an exciting finish under other circumstances – showed that although conditions weren’t great, batting wasn’t impossible… except when facing Kapp, who fittingly came back on right at the end to deliver the crowning moment, bowling Lauren Bell for 4 – the only runs she scored, in her only visit to the crease, in the whole competition.

As her team-mates celebrated, Kapp took a moment to herself – perhaps to say a brief prayer of thanks – before joining them. She’s won stuff before, of course, including the KSL with the Surrey Stars in 2018; but in front of 17,000 people at the Home of Cricket, this was perhaps the biggest win of all. Certainly none came with her name quite so emphatically stamped upon them as it was today.

4 thoughts on “THE HUNDRED FINAL: Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth by Marizanne Kapp

  1. Congratulations London South Africa – er I meant Oval Invincibles.
    If this was as Syd suggested “the biggest win of all” for Kapp she was remarkably stony faced at the end – she wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Brave dugout. Talk about keeping calm. I’m pleased for DVN – deserved this.
    Did Phoenix and Brave miss their Indian openers, well maybe, but then Invincibles played most of the round robin without Kapp (injured).
    Four notes for next year : (a) get the timing right so players don’t have to miss the finale (b) measure the margin of victory of a team batting 2nd by balls remaining not wickets (c) replace NRR with something better (d) use Michael Vaughan for the model for how male commentators should commentate on female cricket (ie with knowledge, respect and enthusiasm)
    Was The Hundred a success ? – well the players and spectators seem to think so.

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  2. Southern Brave de-Kapp-itated! Marizanne (aka “Killer”) Kapp is the Xena of women’s cricket…she kicks serious ass! Astounding opening bowling spell. I could scarcely believe what I was seeing: Kapp had de-kapp-itated the Brave top order for less than a pittance. Incredible! I loved every second of it. So sad that The Hundred is over. Looking forward to next year.

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  3. The conditions were ideal for Kapp to bowl and she certainly made the most of it – that opening salvo of 3 for 2 off the first 10 was unreal. Pure perfection. A lazy shot from Wyatt and Dunkley going fully at it but still caught behind. We’ve seen a lot of players nicking off early doors in the last couple of days. The Oval pitch and this Lord’s one were surprisingly pacey and good for seam bowling, with a bit of movement in them. Don’t often see so many keeper (when standing back) and slip catches in the women’s game.

    You didn’t mention it but Taylor has to take some of the flak for Brave’s innings. When she and Bouchier were having their little partnership, Brave were still in the game I think. But Taylor ran out Bouchier who was doing well up to that point, then continued to chew up balls for not many runs before getting out. She didn’t have her best day at the office. Wellington and Shrubsole gave it up without too much fight and I think that was the point at which all hope was truly gone. It was nice to get 2 full games in when we thought rain might intervene, but equally, a shame to see 2 quite one-sided games with the Phoenix men’s side ending up not doing too much better than Brave in their chase really.

    Might the rules for the finals qualification need to change for next time around? Currently it looks like a massive disadvantage to win the group stage. That team has to sit and stew another few days whilst the other finalist builds momentum. Maybe separate the finals days and play the eliminator the same day (as per the KSL) or have a top 4 go through and some kind of IPL-style qualifier & eliminator when top 2 get 2 chances to get into the final and positions 3 and 4 only 1 chance. Just a thought.

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  4. Just posting to say how reminiscent of a feeling it was watching end of WBBL last year when dominant Melbourne were steamrolled in final by Thunder, with Ismail taking that first over if I recall. What I loved about this comp, as with wbbl, I didn’t have a deeply tribal attachment to any one side so each game was it’s own knockout on a personal level, and I watched and enjoyed every single game live, either on telly or in person at Old Trafford and Edgbaston. Gotta say this is a hugely enjoyable way to experience a competition when you don’t mind so much who wins or loses; not an approach for everyone I know.

    I was receptive if unconvinced before The Hundred but am now a dedicated fan who will spread the gospel (but still expect improvements!)

    BTW I typed an enormous long post in praise of Brum Phoenix and Amy Jones after eliminator but I see it hasn’t posted, I probably didn’t log in correctly? I’ll see if I can find it. – Flo

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