South Africa 195 for 2 (Lee 101, Luus 61*) beat Thailand 82 (Ismail 3-8, Luus 3-15) by 113 runs
Lizelle Lee‘s maiden T20I century formed the cornerstone of a thumping South Africa victory over Thailand in Canberra as they compiled the highest total in a women’s T20 World Cup, although their catching left much to be desired.
Lee and Sune Luus added 131 in 12 overs for the second wicket and South Africa plundered 115 runs from their second ten overs. Lee did not bother with too much running: 82 of her 101 runs came in boundaries.
South Africa’s performance in the field started with two very poor dropped chances – overall, they spilled four – but they were soon among the wickets which included a team hat-trick, starting with a run-out and completed when Shabnim Ismail‘s pace claimed two in two.
Larruped by Lee
Lee was up and running with a brace of boundaries in the opening over and never looked back in a display of her trademark power. Thailand had done reasonably well to restrict South Africa to 37 for 1 in the Powerplay but, as against England, they struggled to maintain pressure. Lee was given a life on 45 when Onnicha Kamchomphu dropped a return catch and the next over from Chanida Sutthiruang cost 20 as Lee went up a gear during which she went to a 35-ball fifty. Her next fifty took just 24 deliveries and there was no lingering in the nervous nineties as she collected three boundaries in five balls off Suleeporn Laomi to reach the landmark. With four overs still to go, there was potential for a huge score, but Laomi had an element of revenge when the ball after her hundred Lee punched a return catch.
Luus enjoys promotion
In the absence of the unwell Marizanne Kapp, who withdrew shortly before the start with a respiratory infection, Luus had the opportunity to bat at No. 3 and built her innings after Dan van Niekerk had carelessly chipped a full toss to midwicket in the third over. “That was the worst shot I’ve ever played. My head was nowhere,” van Niekerk told the host broadcast afterwards. Luus would have been run-out on 19 had a throw from Kamchomphu hit, but had no problems moving along at better than a run-a-ball. Her fifty came off 35 balls when she dispatched a big full toss from Nattaya Boochatham for her second six. Chloe Tryon helped add the finishing touches to the innings as she plundered 20 off the penultimate over from Sornnarin Tippoch which included being dropped at long-on.
South Africa drop their guard
Although the result was a formality, the slipshod nature of South Africa’s catching will not have pleased captain or coach. Ismail dropped a chance at deep square-leg first ball when Nattakan Chantam pulled Nonkulueko Mlaba, and in the second over, Nadine de Klerk spilled a sitter at mid-on offered by Boochatham. South Africa got it together when Trisha Chetty pulled off a direct hit from behind the stumps to run Chantam out, and then Ismail, by far the fastest bowler Thailand will have faced, speared deliveries through Nannapat Koncharoenkai and Naruemol Chaiwai. With slips and gullies lined up, Tippoch was able to survive Ismail’s hat-trick delivery. The fielding lifted, too, when Laura Wolvaardt plucked out a superb one-handed diving effort at cover to remove Tippoch. There was a note of defiance from Kamchomphu, who struck van Niekerk for Thailand’s first six of the tournament, but van Niekerk then dropped another chance, a simple caught and bowled, and a fourth went down at long leg when Mlaba added her name to the guilty list. Though the misses weren’t costly today, they could be in the remaining matches.