Lizelle Lee, the big-hitting South African opener, put a disappointing ICC Women's World T20 2018 campaign behind her as she lit up the opening day of the Women's Big Bash League 4 with a blistering century.
Lee's 102* off 56 balls led Melbourne Stars to a seven-wicket win over the star-studded Sydney Sixers, the defending champions, who had posted 165/7 on the back of fifties by World T20 winners Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry.
It was Lee's first WBBL century, and her second consecutive one in T20 leagues – in late August, in the final of the Women's Cricket Super League in England, her 55-ball ton had taken Surrey Stars to the title. It took her total number of T20 hundreds to three, and is the joint fourth-highest score in WBBL history.
She struck 16 fours and three sixes in her knock. Given a life with a dropped catch on 90, she brought up the milestone in 55 balls, with a six off Ashleigh Gardner over long-on.
The opener, while pleased with her effort, played down the innings, and was just glad that the "underdogs" had a win. "It's very good, but at the end of the day it's all about the team," she said.
The Stars had finished seventh last year and Lee's fireworks made for the perfect start to a new season. "There's nothing wrong with being the underdogs," the opener said. "We're really a good team compared to last year ... a few youngsters look really good and also the bowlers have done extremely well."
Perry, who returned to the top after batting in the middle for Australia during the World T20, admitted her side, who are chasing their third title, were "outdone".
Perry and Healy, Player of the Tournament in the West Indies, added 108 for the opening wicket in 11.5 overs, with Lee behind the stumps fumbling chances to have the in-form Healy out early.
"Given the start we had, we probably (finished) 15 or 20 runs short, which maybe wouldn't have been enough anyway in the end," Perry said. "We certainly left some runs out there in really great conditions ... we were just outdone."
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