'The conditions are something else,' says Lizelle Lee ahead of second ODI in Antigua

Lizelle Lee reached the Women's ODI 3000-runs mark during the opening game of the five-match series against the West Indies in Antigua.
Lizelle Lee reached the Women's ODI 3000-runs mark during the opening game of the five-match series against the West Indies in Antigua.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Momentum Proteas opening batter Lizelle Lee says the hot and humid conditions in Antigua and Barbuda have been hard to deal with as the team bids to win the ODI series after drawing the T20 series.

The Proteas senior women’s national team is in the Caribbean for an eight-match limited-overs series against the West Indies, which started with a drawn three-match T20 series at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground last week.

The tour moved 10km to nearby Coolidge Cricket Ground for the five-match ODI series, where SA took a 1-0 lead with a crushing eight-wicket win with 63 balls to spare.

The 29-year-old Lee smashed her 21st ODI half-century and came agonisingly close to what would have been a fourth career century in this format as she top-scored with a brilliant unbeaten 91.

“The conditions are something else,” said the Ermelo-born hard-hitting batter ahead of Friday’s second ODI. “I think last night was probably one of the worst, can’t say the worst experience I have had on the field, but among the toughest.

“The pitches are low, and I mean very low. It was extremely hot and humid. It was very challenging and I think it is one of the hardest tours.

“Even in training sessions you bat for 30 minutes and you want to pass out. The conditions are tough but so far the girls have done extremely well and showed character.”

The Proteas blew their hosts away for 153 in 47 overs in the opening ODI and will be determined to go two nil up in the second match on Friday, starting at 4pm SA time.

The hot and humid conditions, coupled with a strict bubble environment, are a combination that can take a lot out of visitors.

“Bubble life is going to be there with us for now and we are just going to have to wear masks. Our focus is to win matches for our country. My sole focus is to score runs for the team and that is what we want to do.”

Lee has been in imperious form of late. She finished as one of the five players who scored more than 200 runs in the Hundred tournament in England.

After the opening T20 was washed out, Lee led the charge with a 52-ball 75 in the second game to end the series as the leading scorer with 84 runs.

The T20 series was drawn 1-1 last week as the hosts stormed back in the third decider.

Lee led the way again in the opening ODI on Tuesday with another big half-century (91 unbeaten) and will be carrying SA hopes in the second match on Friday.

“It is a bit disappointing about the T20s that we did not pull through in that last one but it is what it is,” said Lee, who crossed the 3,000-mark for ODI runs in the last match.

“I have really enjoyed my cricket in the past few years and I think you can see it on the field.”

With Test cricket a rarity for women’s cricket, the 50-over format is understandably Lee’s pastime.

 “I especially enjoy the 50-over game. I think it is probably the one where I stand out the most. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.”