Lizelle Lee was too hot to handle for India, starring in the ODIs before playing a pivotal role in the T20Is. We look back on the performances that earned her the honour of being named ICC Women's Player of the Month for March.
By the numbers
288 runs at 144.00. Strike rate of 86.22 One century. High score of 132*
90 runs at 30.00. Strike rate of 128.57. High score of 70
Spearheaded South Africa’s first series win over India since 2014
The Proteas' six-and-a-half-year wait for a series win over India came to an end in early March as Lee powered them to a 4-1 victory over the hosts.
The opening batter topped the run-scoring charts with 288 at an average of 144.00, hitting one ton and two half-centuries across her four innings.
She started the campaign with a classy 83 not out, putting on a 169-run stand with Laura Wolvaardt to help South Africa chase down a target of 178 with ease. That was followed by her lone blip of the series, out for four as India took out the second ODI. In game three she got back in her groove, notching her third ODI ton to give South Africa a 2-1 series lead before helping them wrap up the series with a half-century in game four.
She sat out the fifth ODI but was still an uncontroversial choice for Player of the Series.
“Her run-scoring in the ODIs was a significant part of why South Africa were able to convincingly win the series against India in an away series,” Ian Bishop, ICC Voting Academy member, said.
Reclaims top spot on the ODI rankings
Lee rocketed up the rankings thanks to her bumper campaign.
Entering the series sitting 11th on the ICC ODI batting rankings, she floated up to eighth after her unbeaten 83 in the opening match.
Her stocks continued to rise after that and following scores of 4, 132* and 69 she climbed to the top spot, leapfrogging England’s Tammy Beaumont.
Lee only stood briefly on the summit, moving back to second after missing the final ODI against India, but it was still quite the achievement. It was her first time on top of the rankings since 2018.
She remains the lone South African to have held that position.
“She had a stellar run against India and dominated Indian bowlers throughout the series,” Mona Parthsarathi, journalist and ICC Voting Academy member, said of the Player of the Month. “She scored a century and two half-centuries and also moved to the top of the ICC Women’s ODI Batting Rankings.
“She has been the most impactful woman Cricketer last month and deserves the recognition.”
Crucial to South Africa’s first-ever T20I series win over India
The 29-year-old was not quite as dominant in the T20I series that followed the ODIs, but she was still essential to a historic victory for South Africa. The 2-1 win is their first-ever T20I series victory over India.
Lee was South Africa’s second-highest run-scorer for the campaign, making 90 at an average of 30.
The bulk of those runs came in a crucial half-century in the second T20I, helping South Africa seal the series with a game to spare.
Chasing 159 to win, Lee hit 11 fours and one six as she blasted her way to a 45-ball 70, putting on fifty-run stands with Suné Luus and Wolvaardt.
While Wolvaardt would go on to finish the job in the 20th over but it was Lee who set up the chase.
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