South African opener Lizelle Lee struck an unbeaten century to help her team score a thrilling six-run win (by D/L method) to take a 2-1 lead against India in the five-match women’s ODI series on Friday.
Indian cricketer Mithali Raj achieved a historic landmark when she completed 35 runs, becoming only the second women’s cricketer after Charlotte Edwards of England to complete 10,000 runs in international cricket. But in the context of the match, the day belonged to the experienced Lee.
While playing her 88th ODI, Lee essayed a classic knock of 132 off 131 deliveries, her best so far, with the help of 16 boundaries and two powerful sixes. In reply to India’s total of 248/5, South Africa were 223/4 when a heavy drizzle stopped play at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana International Stadium. The play didn’t resume and the outcome was decided on the basis of the D/L method.
The strongly built Lee, who struck the third century of her career, didn’t allow Indian bowlers, especially veteran Jhulan Goswami (2/20), to trouble her. While rotating the strike well with occasional boundaries in the beginning, Lee, along with stand-in skipper Laura Wolvaardt, added 41 runs for the opening wicket.
Two quick wickets with the score at 178 did raise India’s hopes momentarily, but Lee, along with Anne Bosch (16, 28b, 1x4), kept the Proteas on course for a win when the match stopped at 46.3 overs.
While reading the nature of the black soil pitch well, South Africa chose to bowl first and got the expected result on the very second ball when opener Jemimah Rodrigues edged a regulation catch behind the stumps off Shabnim Ismail (2/46)
Smriti Mandhana (25, 27b, 4x4) and Punam Raut displayed some fine batting all around the ground. However, Mandhana misjudged a slower one from Sekhukhune only to see Shangase taking a simple catch. Immediately after reaching her 10,000th run, Mithali lost momentum, chipping a full toss from Bosch straight to Preez at midwicket.
India 248/5 in 50 overs (Punam Raut 77, Mithali Raj 36, Deepti Sharma 36*, Smriti Mandhana 25, Shabnim Ismail 2/46) lost to South Africa 223/4 (Lizelle Lee 132*, Mignon du Preez 37, Anne Bosch 16*, Jhulan Goswami 2/20) (D/L method).