All-round Lee powers North West to Women’s Week title

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 03: National Cricket week winners, North West, during the CSA Womens Provincial League Final closing function at Bains Game Lodge on April 03, 2017 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 03: National Cricket week winners, North West, during the CSA Womens Provincial League Final closing function at Bains Game Lodge on April 03, 2017 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

Lizelle Lee hit 84 runs and took four wickets, leading North West to a close, 16-run victory over Gauteng in the final of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Women’s Week in Bloemfontein on Monday.

The 2017/2018 champions were restricted to 174/9 at the end of their 50 overs thanks to Shabnim Ismail, who resumed her wicket-taking ways, returning notable figures of 4/20 from her 10 overs. Lee set up the innings well, her 84 runs coming from 117 deliveries with 10 fours and 2 sixes, while the rest of the batting order struggled on a testing wicket. Elriesa Fourie (32) and Tazmin Britz (21) were the only other batters to manage a start before they fell to Zante Steyn (2/29) and Ismail respectively.

Gauteng’s reply got off to a nightmarish start when they lost Nelmarie Botha (0) off the very first delivery of the innings from Anneke Bosch (1/29). A mix up between the batters saw the other opener, Trisha Chetty run out for 19, while Robyn Searle fell to Evodia Yekile (1/21) on 13 as Gauteng slipped to 35/3 in the 15th over.

Nonkululeko Thabethe brought a level of calm to the innings, grinding out 41 runs from 105 deliveries. She was eventually removed by Lee, followed by a double strike by Fourie (2/30) that saw the end of Ismail (22) and Steyn (0) off the next delivery.

Gauteng did their best to fight back, but it was difficult with Lee striking at the most crucial moments. She mopped up the rest of the tail-enders, bowling out the Johannesburg side for 158 with just three deliveries to spare.

Lee is delighted to have played so well during the duration of the tournament and is glad to have contributed to her team’s success.

“It’s been a really good season for me and I’m glad I could carry the form forward into the tournament when my team needed it the most,” she said. “We played good cricket throughout the week and at some stage or another, someone was always putting up their hand, either with bat or ball to make sure that we reached the final and also won it.”

Lee was deservedly named the Batter of the Tournament at the closing function of the tournament. She hit 379 runs in five matches, with a high score of 133 and an average of 75.8. Ismail was named the Bowler of the Tournament for taking a combined 14 wickets in five matches and returning best bowling figures of 5/5.