Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng is confident star batter Lizelle Lee will ’want to jump straight into it’ after missing the ’sloppy’ opening Women’s World Cup victory over Bangladesh on Saturday.
Cape Town – Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng is confident star batter Lizelle Lee will “want to jump straight into it” after missing the “sloppy” opening Women’s World Cup victory over Bangladesh on Saturday.
The World’s No.2 ranked side just about did enough to see off the tournament debutants with the impressive bowling unit once again managing to offset the batters’ inconsistencies.
South Africa limped to 207 all out with the top order – bar Laura Wolvaardt – once again failing to find their rhythm, which Moreeng admitted has become a growing source of “frustration because we know what the players in these positions are capable of”.
The potentially explosive Tazmin Brits has walked out with Wolvaardt to face the new ball in Lee’s absence, but the duo have not been able to piece together the substantial platforms the Proteas are accustomed to.
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— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 5, 2022
In seven innings, which includes the West Indies series prior to the World Cup, the two warm-ups matches and Saturday’s encounter against against Bangladesh, their best is only 53 posted in the second ODI at the Wanderers last month.
In contrast since the 2017 World Cup, Lee and Wolvaardt average 52.9 over the past five years and have scored the most number of runs (1535 in 34 innings) as an opening pair in the world.
But with Lee having now served her seven-day isolation period after arriving late in New Zealand due to the birth of her first child, Moreeng is confident the current ICC ODI Player of the Year will hit the ground running.
“She (Lee) has been training in between all the time that she’s been home with family,” Moreeng said.
“Knowing her, she is a very competitive cricketer, she’ll want to jump straight into it, and once she passes through the medical she will be considered for the next game.”
Although the overall performance against the Bangladeshis lacked the intensity that will be expected once the Proteas face sterner opponents later in the tournament, Moreeng was quick to point out that the month-long World Cup is a marathon and not a sprint.
“I think your first World Cup game is always a tough one. I think there’s a bit of nerves there and the important thing is to make sure you get the job done on the day,” he said.
“I think we came back and how the players fought on the day has shown the resilience we have as a team. We’re just proud of the way how the girls came back and bounced back from the start that we had.”
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 6, 2022
South Africa have a full week to prepare for their next game against Pakistan on Friday at Mount Maunganui and Moreeng will be hoping his batting unit in particular fine tune their deficiencies.