The South Africa women's emerging squad got opening day jitters out of the way after Liezelle Lee scored an impressive 103 from 125 balls to lead them to a 175-run victory over Zimbabwe at the Harare Country Club on Thursday. They go one-nil up in the two-match ODI series.
Lee is delighted with her performance after getting off to a slow start, she said: "I started off really slow and I was beginning to get a little frustrated with myself, but I'm glad I stuck to the basics and played my natural game. It was a really good feeling getting to my 100 and helping to set up a tough target for Zimbabwe to chase."
The hosts won the toss and elected to field on a overcast morning, fresh from a night of rain. South Africa lost Robyn Appels for a duck in the first over but recovered impressively when Lee shared a 146-run partnership with skipper, Mignon du Preez (62). Alexis le Breton added 56 vital runs while sharing a 73-run partnership with Lee, followed by a nifty 45 off 30 balls added by Dané van Niekerk to round off a brilliant batting effort by the visitors. South Africa set a daunting 292-run target for Zimbabwe.
Their reply was slow, only managing 13 runs before a pumped up Marcia Letsoalo took the ball and provided the first breakthrough. She removed captain, Ashley Burdett for 12 thanks to some quick hands by van Niekerk. Letsoalo was the pick of the bowlers and went on to take three more wickets, finishing with an remarkable four wickets for 15, which included five maiden overs.
"I've been really happy with my cricket since the Super Fours a few weeks ago," she commented. "I feel like I've just carried on from there and not looked back. It's really nice to be a senior player among the juniors, helping them out and giving them advice as the match progresses. This emerging squad is the future of SA cricket after all and this tour will help them to get a feel of what they can expect when facing international opposition."
Moseline Daniels also continued her good form, taking an outstanding 3/5 off six overs, including three maidens. Van Niekerk also leant her experience with the ball, returning exceptional figures of 3/7 in 4.5 overs before Zimbabwe were bundled out for 58.
The second and final ODI takes place at the Country Club on Saturday, 25 May 2013. Play starts at 9:00 local time.