A Test-match length, a little nibble, and Kapp's got Warriorz gasping for breath

Kapp: 'I'm better off bowling with the new ball' (0:59)

She says fast bowlers always have to deal with niggles, but is happy to be hitting her straps and performing (0:59)

Four overs, 19 dot balls, five runs, and three wickets.

On Sunday, when Shabnim Ismail ripped through Gujarat Giants' top order, Marizanne Kapp sent out a post on social media saying how much she missed sharing the new ball with her former South Africa colleague. On Monday, Kapp seemed to draw inspiration from Ismail as she conjured up some magic of her own in a riveting spell of fast bowling for Delhi Capitals that left the UP Warriorz top order in a daze.

It was a spell of new-ball fast bowling right out of the top drawer: the perfect Test match length - the kind where batters aren't sure whether to come forward or go back and are stuck in the crease - with the hint of nibble in the air compounding the batters' woes. She bowled four overs on the bounce, three of them in the powerplay, and by the time Kapp was done, she had the joint-most economical spell in the one-and-a-bit seasons of the WPL - 4-1-5-3.

On a fresh Bengaluru surface, Kapp hit her lengths from the get-go. There were no obvious demons on the pitch. Yes, it was a bit sluggish, and the odd ball was stopping, but Kapp's impeccable length did the job more than anything else.

She had Alyssa Healy guessing in the first over, which produced only one single. The next over, she had youngster Dinesh Vrinda poke at a back-of-a-length ball outside off that narrowly missed the outside edge. Vrinda, having not scored off her first four balls, decided to take the attacking route. But Kapp went a touch full and well outside off. Vrinda threw her hands at it, but the late movement meant she could not control her stroke and ended up slicing to deep third.

Tahlia McGrath was next on Kapp's list, undone by an absolute ripper. The kind of delivery that fast bowlers dream of, but seldom get absolutely right. She got the back-of-a-length ball to land on middle and off and shape away just enough to make McGrath play down the wrong line and hit the outer part of off pole. Kapp was ecstatic, but not yet done.

It was time for the big fish. Healy had faced seven balls from Kapp, scored just one run, and was visibly frustrated. There was an inside edge on to her pad, and a couple of swish-and-misses, so when she found a ball in her hitting area, Healy's aggressive instincts took over, making her dance down the track to the length delivery. But Kapp had kept the ball outside off and the away movement meant Healy completely mistimed her shot, and Shafali Verma took a smart catch running back from mid-off.

Another tight final over, and Warriorz were left gasping at 27 for 3 after seven. The pieces of the puzzle had all fallen into place for Kapp in just her second game of the season.

"It is something I have been working on, just hitting my natural back of a length and it seemed to work out there tonight," Kapp said after the game. "I am better off bowling with the new ball. We always look to give me as much overs with the new ball, especially when it's going well. I feel like with these teams you want to keep on attacking, especially if you have one or two wickets down. We have some very good death bowlers, so that allows me to bowl upfront more with the new ball.

Kapp has had a bit of a rough time recently. She's been hit with injury and illness and, by her own admission, has not been at her best bowling-wise.

"The last couple of months, I have not been too happy about my bowling. So I went back and tried to put in a bit of work and change one of two small things. Luckily it seemed to be paying off," she said. "As an allrounder and pace bowler, you'll always have a few niggles or illness or something. It is just nice to come out and hit my straps and get the win for my team."

Despite Kapp's brilliance, it was important that Capitals did not let Warriorz off the hook. In came Radha Yadav.

WPL 2024 is a critical tournament for Radha. A regular in the India T20I side till not long ago, Radha was dropped after the 2023 World Cup. She then had a forgettable WPL 2023, where she picked only four wickets in nine games even as Capitals reached the final. She also saw the likes of Shreyanka Patil and Saika Ishaque graduate to the senior level, pushing her down the pecking order in the process.

Some noise right at the start of WPL 2024 was needed - 4 for 20 in four overs felt loud enough.

It was her bouncebackability that stood out against Warriorz. On just the fourth ball of her spell, she was slapped for a four by Grace Harris. She didn't go flat after that. Rather, she looped up the fuller-length ball, inducing a false shot to send back Harris. In her next over, she was carted for six over long-on by Kiran Navgire. Radha once again threw the next ball up and Navgire couldn't resist the temptation only to be caught in the trap.

Radha then took out Warriorz' top-scorer Shweta Sehrawat. She was confident enough to bowl the last over of the innings as well, where she conceded just a single and picked up a wicket.

"She has been bowling well in the nets and the practice games. She came to today's game with a little bit of a look in her eye about wanting to be really competitive and take the game on and she certainly did that," Capitals captain Meg Lanning said. "For a spinner to be able to bowl that last over and do it really well certainly shows that she is bowling well and hopefully that gives a lot of confidence heading into the back end of the tournament."

The collapse initiated by Kapp was completed by Radha and Warriorz were left with no answers as they limped to 119 for 9. Lanning and Shafali then did the rest as Capitals secured their first win of the season. Having lost the opening game by the finest of margins, Capitals needed to move on quickly. A big NRR-boosting win might just have achieved that.