South Africa hit record total, England march on at T20 World Cup

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South Africa's Lizelle Lee hit a maiden T20 century against Thailand. — AFP

CANBERRA — South Africa clubbed the highest total at a women's T20 World Cup to crush minnows Thailand by a massive 113 runs on Friday, while England eased past Pakistan to stay on track for a place in the semi-finals.

Proteas skipper Dane Van Niekerk won the toss in Canberra and opted to bat, with her team building 195 for three, anchored by powerful opener Lizelle Lee's 101.

It was the biggest score in the tournament's history, beating India's 194 for five against New Zealand in 2018.

In reply, Thailand were all out for 82 with South Africa bagging a hat-trick off Shabnim Ismail's bowling, although one was a run-out.

"The box we wanted to tick today was to take the win," said Van Niekerk. "Credit to Lizelle for that century... but I think our fielding let us down a little bit today.

"I don't think we were at our 100 percent best today."

The Proteas registered a commanding victory over England in their opening game and by thrashing Thailand have two wins from two in a tight Group B. Only the top two from the two five-team groups progress to the knockout phase.

In front of a sparse crowd at Manuka Oval, Thailand got an early breakthrough with the wicket of Van Niekerk.

But Lee got the scoreboard moving with a flurry of boundaries an she built a big partnership with Sune Luus.

In a bid to keep South Africa guessing, Thailand used seven different bowlers in the opening nine overs. But the tactic backfired with too many loose deliveries.

Lee raced to her maiden T20 century, in her 72nd international, off 59 balls, with three sixes and 16 fours, before being caught and bowled by Suleeporn Laomi on the very next delivery.

Luus (61 not out) and Chloe Tryon (24) hit out late on to ensure Thailand faced a huge target.

The Thais survived two early dropped catches before Ismail stepped up for an incredible fourth over.

Nattaya Boochatham was run out off the first delivery, then Ismail cleaned-bowled both Nannapat Khoncharoenkai and Naruemol Chaiwai from the next two to leave Thailand reeling at 15 for three.

Onnicha Kamchomphu made a spirited 26 but that was as good as it got for the Thais.

"All credit to Lizelle, she hit the ball hard but we also didn't get our lines and lengths right," said Thai skipper Sornnarin Tippoch. "That's something to improve on, also our fielding."

England kept their hopes alive with a convincing 42-run win over Pakistan.

Captain Heather Knight again led from the front with 62 in their 158 for seven — her sixth consecutive half-century in Canberra. In reply, Pakistan were all out for 116.

Knight's eight fours and a six in her 62 before she was caught at the death off the bowling of Nida Dar, playing her 100th T20.

Natalie Sciver chipped in with 36 and Fran Wilson made 22, with Aiman Anwer taking three wickets.

Pakistan lost Muneeba Ali in the third over and tight England bowling pinned them down before four wickets fell in the space of 23 balls to leave them in trouble on 51 for five at the halfway mark.

Aliya Riaz did her best to accelerate the run rate in a 41-run cameo but it was in vein.

"We probably would have liked a little but more but the wicket was slow," said Knight. "Our bowling and fielding performance was pretty good, but there's always room for improvement."

The West Indies, also with two wins from two in Group B, are in action on Sunday. — AFP


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