South Africa head coach Hilton Moreeng, on Friday, expressed delight at how all the departments clicked at the right time in the fifth T20I against Pakistan to clinch the series 3-2. Throughout the campaign, Moreeng asked for more consistency from his squad in all three disciplines and in the series-decider, his wish was fulfilled. He was pleased to see how the players got through tough moments in the match, considering the added pressure in the final two games. “It’s been frustrating because if the batting has been firing, the bowling and fielding departments have been letting us down. So, to see everything come together today, we’ve left our perfect game for the last game of the series, which is very special. It shows the character and the quality we have in these young ladies.”
“It’s been very entertaining for those watching from the side, a couple of close games but those kinds of nerves, you have to experience as a player to know what happens going forward. Some of them are going to take a lot of learnings from this and hopefully grow as cricketers.” Moreeng said. The host won the decider of the five-match series by nine-wickets and 29 balls to spare on Thursday. Lizelle Lee struck her third fifty and career-best 75 not out along the way in the match to help South Africa chase down Pakistan’s 125/3. Lee combined with Nadine de Klerk for a pivotal 100-run second-wicket partnership take her side over the line.
Moreeng praised Lee and de Klerk’s contribution, highlighting the roles each had played in the middle. “Lee is a very devastating cricketer up the order. She takes bowlers on, you know how she plays the ball all over the field… she plays 360. What is good for us to see is the consistency, but we need to understand that it isn’t going to happen every time. Hence, we needed a player like Nadine to come and then she has a 100-run partnership, with a senior player like that,” the coach said. “It is immense for her because she learnt a lot today about herself, the game and the role she’s playing in the team. She is giving the selectors a good headache going into our off-season, which is very good. This is what you want from a player like Lizelle, she’s got the potential, she’s shown the ability and now it’s about making sure the consistency is much better,” he added.
One of the other positives of the T20I series and the entire inbound tour against Pakistan has been the captaincy of Sune Luus, who was standing in for the injured Dane van Niekerk. Moreeng credited the all-rounder’s leadership qualities and the ability to read the game. The coach heaped praises on Pakistan, saying, “Pakistan are a very good team, they’ve shown that with the performances they’ve had in their last series, with a win against West Indies at home. It’s a team that is rising and with that, it was a good test for us. We can go and re-assess where we are because we’ve got another few weeks to prepare before we go into our next tour.”
Lee was awarded the Player of the Match in the fifth T20I, her third in the series. Pakistan all-rounder Nida Dar claimed the Player of the Series for her 239 runs and four wickets.