It’s hard to believe that the Proteas Women, put 195 on the board, from 13 for the loss of 1 wicket at one stage. Moreover, this was at the near completion of the 3rd over of their inning. But what followed after skipper Van Niekerk departed for a 2 off 7, misfiring a dolly offered by Padunglerd (that landed straight to the fielder inside the circle), was destruction in its purest form helped by an amateurish display on the field by Thailand.
On a wicket where batting was fairly easy, relatively minus any discomfort, it wasn’t much that the hapless Thai bowling could do, to stop a South Africa quick to dislodge anything bowled in their zone.
It didn’t help the inexperienced team that on a day where the spinners struggled, the fielding wasn’t top-class either, Lateh dropping a sitter off her captain when Tryon was in peak form, toward the end overs.
But despite initial indications at movement- Sutthiruang bringing the ball into the right-handers-with the ball doing just enough to lead to a play-and-a-miss on few early occasions, South Africans weren’t always served freebies.
Yet, it was the might of their batters that called the shots leading to the highest-ever team score in a World T20 where first Lizelle Lee broke free, and later, an Ismail-led attack put curtains on Thailand.
So what were the defining moments of Proteas Women’s destruction of the inexperienced first-timers in World T2o?
Lizelle Lee Scores Maiden T20 Ton, Thailand Stand As Mute Spectators
The ball meets the boundary soon as it is bowled into her slot, which could be anywhere from the square-leg to over cover region. And that’s what defined Lizelle Lee’s exceptional maiden T20 hundred, a knock that eventually powered South Africa to a position of dominance. But while critics might argue that the knock came against minnows Thailand, for whom, the current event is a learning exercise, a hundred at a world cup stage and the first of one’s career is special.
Is it not?
Moreover, after losing her captain early, the side wanting a senior figure to guide the team against a side it had had no prior experience playing, Lee’s daunting knock is every bit worthy of appreciation as the powerful strokes it featured- on either side.
But before Lizelle Lee- recognized among the finest ball-bashers in the game, a talent along the likes of the big-hitting Rachael Priest, Alyssa Healy or Smriti Mandhana- broke free, she first had to stabilize the scoreboard.
The first powerplay yielded just 37, a period of play wherein the Proteas Women were watchful. Later, as the contest reached the usually tricky mid-over stages, Lee, by then in her full rhythm, began expressing herself accelerating the scoring.
This is when dangerous hits over cover and glides down the leg side began recurring, Thai captain Tippoch and Lateh treated with utter disdain.
Not that they learned anything such as holding back their length. But by then, what held the center-stage in a brilliant exhibition of power-hitting was Sune Luus, the other wrecker-in-chief, alongside the mighty opener.
Batting Shuffle Works Wonders For Proteas Women
The Proteas Women had opened their campaign against England, a contest they won thrillingly in a final over the chase. But implicit in that victory was the batting order.
Captain Dane van Niekerk opened instead of Wolvaardt or Sune Luus- two familiar batters who open alongside Lizelle Lee.
Even as Lee fell cheaply back then, the captain stayed put. What was interesting, though, was that the Van Niekerk-Kapp stand formed the cornerstone of the Proteas Women triumph.
So what changed this time around?
Opting to step back at the very last minute owing to illness, there was no Marizanne Kapp in the game against Thailand, hence a vacuum at her number 3 spot.
This is where Sune Luus- who batted down the order against England- stepped in, having been promoted to number 3. It could be said this was a masterstroke- banking on the dependable all-rounder- who actually has a better strike rate in T20Is than her captain.
Did you notice?
Nonetheless, the end result was there for Proteas fans to see. The writing was on the wall for Thailand as Luus helped herself to her 4th T20I fifty, striking 2 big maximums.
Spare A Thought For Kamchomphu
36 T20s against her name, Kamchomphu, a key member of Thailand’s bowling core isn’t the easiest to score off. The right-arm off-break specialist used flight and adjustments to a decent effect in her 2-over spell that went for just 14.
Now while 7-an over isn’t a healthy economy rate knowing the format that the experienced bowler went for far less than most around her meant her day with the ball in hand wasn’t the worst.
Her captain, also a right-arm off-break bowler, went for 12-an over, as did Boochatham, who opened Thailand’s bowling.
Kamchomphu, who couldn’t get a wicket but kept the scorecard somehow quiet during the dangerous death overs. Moreover, there were 5 dot balls against Proteas women in a massacring form.
If that cannot be qualified to be called an achievement, then 26 of her team’s 82 runs came of Kamchomphu’s bat.
This included the first-ever six by a Thai batswoman in the World T20 contest where the petite-built cricketer displayed excellent footwork to dislodge captain Van Niekerk’s leg-spin over deep mid-wicket.
Luus’ All-Round Show Does Wonders In Big Proteas Win
A domineering show with the bat, when pushed up the order to accelerate the inning wasn’t the ever-smiling Luus’ only contribution to the Proteas Women.
As effective with the ball in hand as she’s ferocious when dislodging it, an example of which the Thai bowlers learned at Canberra, the leg-break bowler picked up a 3 for 15 dismantling the lower-order.
This wasn’t before she removed the most successful Thai batter of the day in Kamchomphu, having drained out the Thai of much-needed runs with customary flight and drift earlier.
To a team that had already been put to the backfoot, thanks to Shabnim Ismail’s rip-roaring pace that triggered a top-order collapse, Luus’s bowling was the perfect foil to the medium-pacer.t
Some key milestones that the Proteas women notched up during their massive win
|Record||Team/Player||Score/runs||Boundaries, sixes struck|
Highest T20 total in World Cup games
195/3, 20 overs
Personal best T20I score
16, 3 (in that order)
3rd wicket stand
Lee and Luus
21, 5 collectively