PAKISTAN WOMEN TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA, 2019
Lizelle Lee was on fire through out the series © Getty
Lizelle Lee’s second successive half-century, and third of the series, helped South Africa clinch the decider in Willowmoore Park, Benoni by nine wickets to win the five-match T20I series 3-2.
Chasing 126 for a win, Lee stroked a blistering 48-ball 75, and added a century stand in the company of Nadine de Klerk to help the hosts stroll past the chase in 15.1 overs. Lee’s knock included 11 boundaries and two sixes to cap off a fine run, in which she has been adjudged as the player of the series.
Earlier in the day, South Africa won the toss and elected to field. Pakistan got off to a scratchy start but having lost only Omaima Sohail in the powerplay, made up for it with some handy contributions in the middle overs. Javeria Khan, Bismah Maroof, Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz all stroked 20s but failed to make good of their starts.
There were only brief periods when Pakistan looked to go on the offensive, the most standout being Nida Dar – who was adjudged their Player of the Series – hitting Sune Luus for consecutive sixes in the 12th over. But as the innings progressed, Pakistan only kept sliding further with their scoring.
South Africa kept picking wickets at regular intervals and didn’t allow the visitors to get away easily in the death overs, conceding only three boundaries in the last five overs. Barring Masabata Klaas, all the bowlers managed to bag a wicket each, with pacer Shabnim Ismail being the most impressive of the lot, returning with economical figures of 1 for 16 from four overs. Her tight bowling in the 18th and 20th overs remained crucial in restricting the visitors to 125 for 5.
South Africa had little trouble in the chase despite losing opener Tasmin Brits in the fourth over. Lee took the attack to the opposition en route her 10th T20I fifty and registered her highest score in the format, surpassing her 69* against England at Johannesburg in 2016.
Her aggression took a special liking to Riaz, who was hit for a couple of boundaries in her opening over. The assault wasn’t to end there as Lee smashed her for boundaries off the first three deliveries of the 15th over to end Pakistan’s hopes of stretching the contest deep. Nadine de Klerk too played a useful hand with her unbeaten 31-ball 37.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 125/5 in 20 overs (Nida Dar 28, Aliya Riaz 26*; Nadine de Klerk 1-10, Shabnim Ismail 1-16) lost to South Africa 127/1 in 15.1 overs (Lizelle Lee 75*, Nadine de Klerk 37*) by 9 wickets.