Eastern Province Women’s World Cup cricket stars Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk are looking to raise the bar even further when they take part in the Australian Big Bash League later this year.
The duo were simply outstanding for South Africa as the women Proteas reached the semifinals of the World Cup in England last week.
Kapp, the world’s leading ODI bowler, and right-handed batsman and leg-spinner Van Niekerk starred in the tournament, but unfortunately the team slipped to a narrow two-wicket semis defeat.
They posted 218 runs for six, a total England just managed to overhaul with only two wickets in hand.
But the South African squad enhanced their growing reputation at the tournament and are now ranked fourth in the world.
“It was a very emotional tournament for us and the team. It was an amazing journey and both of us being named in the team of the tournament was special,” Van Niekerk said.
“The World Cup certainly took its toll on our bodies and we just want to sit back and reflect before going into other competitions,” she said.
“The final at Lord’s on Sunday was sold out for the first time in history.
“It was nice to see the recognition we are getting from the public as females because in the past people did not even know about women’s cricket.”
As the year enters Women’s Month (August), Kapp and Van Niekerk reflected on the tremendous strides women’s cricket has made recently.
But they have called for more development at schools and provincial level.
“Women’s cricket has taken massive strides from where it started. We are delighted to have achieved so much in a short time,” Kapp said.
“We both started at high school and we have seen that the sport is developing.
“I would, however, like to see more integration, where the girls play with boys to boost their game,” Van Niekerk said.
“We would like to see more women’s cricket festivals happening this month, targeted specifically at girls looking to build their cricket games,” she said.
Van Niekerk said they enjoyed being role models for tomorrow’s youth.
“We are not really pressured to keep the momentum of being role models for future generations because the hard work we put in has shown in the results we produced from the World Cup.”
Kapp said: “The country has seen what we can do and sees the effort we put in.
“We hope it has been enough to inspire girls all over the country.”
Kapp leaves tomorrow to play in the KIA T20 Super League in England, while Van Niekerk will be out due to a shoulder injury and will return to take on domestic cricket in Australia in September.
They will also feature in an incoming tour against India in January and February.