LEICESTER, England - Lizelle Lee’s breakfast on Saturday was “like every other day – baked beans and sausages.”
On the field though, the Proteas' women's star was anything but everyday-like, providing entertainment with a 65-ball 92 in a 115-run win over India in the ICC Women's World Cup at Grace Road in Leicester.
She had just finished breakfast when Mithali Raj, surprisingly, opted to field, but Lee was ready for a second course in the form of generous Indian bowling.
It was not so much the seven sixes she hit as much as the confidence with which she dominated the bowling during her 20.4 overs stay in the middle.
She eventually fell leg before wicket, but by then she had hit her 50th One-Day International six. Data for the number of sixes hit in Women’s ODIs is available from January 2012, and no one is close to Lee.
Deandra Dottin, Chloe Tryon and Sophie Devine are in the 30s. Considering the rate at which the game is evolving, Lee’s mark will be surpassed sooner rather than later, but she will always be the first. She has already hit 12 in this World Cup, and credited it to power-hitting training.
“In power hitting, it is about knowing that you still have to keep your shape when you are doing it,” said Lee, even while revealing that when she practised it for the first time during this tournament, she was unable to connect with the balls.
“It is just not about the power, it is about the timing. We have worked on it, and it shows.”
Lee scored 82 of her 92 runs with the help of boundaries, but her second-wicket partnership of 91 with Trisha Chetty involved a lot of running between the wickets.
She was also able accelerate because of the pace at which the Indian spinners were bowling to her.
“We have played against them a lot now. We had a look at what they do, and what they don’t do. That just made it easier for us, and helped me in my game,” she revealed.
“The pitch also did not do much. That just helped. We just said we have to go for singles and not get dotted up too much and get the odd boundary. There were a few which they bowled faster at me, but the faster it is the better it is for me! I don’t mind it.”
Although this knock put South Africa a step away from a semifinal berth, Lee still rated her maiden century against Australia last year in a 32-over game as her best.
“That was more of a milestone than this one… Would have been different had I got my hundred!