Blistering Lee's ton, Luus' allround effort sink Thailand

Padmaja Srivatsan
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Blistering Lee's ton, Luus' allround effort sink Thailand

Lizelle Lee hits a big shot. © Getty Images

T20 World Cup. This emphatic victory by Proteas was also the biggest in terms of runs in T20 World Cups.

It was a record-breaking day led by Lizelle Lee who scored her maiden ton (101) off just 59 balls. Lee bludgeoned Thailand's bowlers to all parts of the ground and scored 82 off those runs in boundaries (16) and sixes (3). The swashbuckling opener set the Manuka Oval on fire with her scintillating knock which put Thailand bowlers on the backfoot. She formed a vital 131-run stand for the second wicket with Sune Luus (61*), who ably supported her to put South Africa on course of an easy victory.

Lee started well by dispatching Nattaya Boochatham for two boundaries in the first over. Ratanaporn Padunglerd, though, struck in the second over and accounted for skipper Dane van Niekerk for just two. Meanwhile, Thailand spinners, especially Soraya Lateh, was bowling a bit loose and Lee cashed in with a couple of cover drives.

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She got a reprieve on 45 when Onnicha Kamchomphu dropped a tough chance of her own bowling. The big-hitting Lee capitalised on the chance and brought her fifty with a massive six off just 35 balls. Luus was a perfect foil to attacking Lee, scoring run by maneuvering the ball in the gaps. At the halfway stage South Africa reached 80 and looked good for a score over 150.

Lee then accelerated and scored 17 runs in the 12th over off Boochatham. With a spanking cut shot, she brought South Africa's eighth century stand in T20Is with Luus. Soon the right-hander Lee got to her maiden T20I ton. A lapse of concentration finally brought her blistering innings to an end.

Luus kept the momentum going by favouring the leg side and brought her fourth T20I fifty off just 35 balls. Her unbeaten 61 took South Africa to 195 for the loss of three wickets.

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Chasing a daunting target, Thailand got off to the worst-possible start as they lost three wickets for just 14 runs. Shabnim Ismail's pace was too hot to handle for Naruemol Chaiwai (0) and Nannapat Koncharoenkai (0). Thailand's day turned into a nightmare as Laura Wolvaardt pulled off an absolute blinder at covers to give Nonkululeko Mlaba her first T20I wicket. Thailand lost four wickets for just 16 runs.

Kamchomphu provided some fightback by scoring at a brisk rate of over 100 - she hit Thailand's first six in the tournament - before departing for a quickfire 26. Soon, Thailand lost wickets in a cluster as they were bundled out for just 82. Apart from Kamchomphu, only Chanida Sutthiruang (13) managed to reached double-digit score.

Brief scores: South Africa 195/3 in 20 overs (Lizelle Lee 101, Sune Luus 61*; Ratanaporn Padunglerd 1/19) beat Thailand 82 all out in 19.1 overs (Shabnim Ismail 3/8, Sune Luus 3/15) by 113 runs. PoTM: Lizelle Lee.