Canberra: Opener Lizelle Lee smashed a blistering century before South African bowlers put up an outstanding effort to register an emphatic 113-run victory over debutants Thailand in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup, here on Friday.
Electing to bat, the Proteas posted 195 for three, the highest team total in the tournament's history, on the back of opener Lee's 60-ball 101 and Sune Luus' unbeaten 61.
In response, Thailand were bundled out for 82 in 19.1 overs.
Sune Luus today
▶️ 61* (41)
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) February 28, 2020
With the win, South Africa strengthened their grip on Group B as they get ready to take on Pakistan on Sunday with the semifinals in sight.
Thailand, who have a knack for nabbing early wickets, were gifted one when Dane van Niekerk (2) patted Ratanporn Padunglerd's full toss to mid-on.
Lee, 10th in the ICC T20I batting rankings, dominated the scoring and slog-swept Onnicha Kamchomphu for a 75-metre six.
Thailand were forced to use seven different bowlers inside nine overs but none could withstand Lee's assault. She reached her 50 from 35 balls with a straight six.
Luus, featuring in her fourth women's T20 World Cup aged 24, then swung Chanida Sutthiruang's full toss for six over fine leg.
Lee came in without a half-century in nine international innings but glided towards a century in 59 balls, showing her touch with a late cut for four before bringing up a ton fittingly with a four.
No sooner had she raised her bat to salute a jubilant South Africa dugout than she chipped a catch back to Suleeporn Laomi to end the partnership on 131.
Luus soon registered her fourth T20I fifty and Chloe Tryon then carted Tippoch over the leg-side fence twice in the penultimate over that cost 20, to lift South Africa to a record total.
It didn't take long for Thailand to lose their first wicket as Natthakan Chantam was run out by a fine throw from keeper Trisha Chetty.
Shabnim Ismail (3/8) tore apart the Thai batting attack, beating Nannapat Khoncharoenkai and then Naruemol Chaiwai with sheer pace in successive balls to complete a team hat-trick.
Tippoch and Nattaya Boochatham played out two maidens before a world-class catch from Laura Wolvaardt at midwicket accounted for the Thailand captain.
Kamchomphu (26) led a lone resistance, hitting Ayabonga Khaka for back-to-back boundaries and striking Thailand's first six of the tournament off Van Niekerk.
She nicked Luus behind in the 12th over before Chetty whipped off Boochatham's bails to end her 31-ball vigil and also stumped Wongpaka Liengprasert (6) for the seventh wicket.
Chanida Sutthiruang was given out lbw on review off Nadine de Klerk, while Laomi looped a catch to Van Niekerk and Ismail castled Padunglerd to complete a comprehensive win.
South Africa: 195-3 in 20 overs (Lizelle Lee 101, Sune Luus 61 not out; Ratanporn Padunglerd 1-19)
Thailand: 82 all out, 19.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
The Pakistan Cricket Board is likely to send its entire cricket contingent for tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe in March-April by a special chartered flight to avoid any COVID-19 complications.
In a CSA statement published, Director of Cricket Graeme Smith thanked Quinton de Kock for leading the side in what are tumultuous times for South African cricket.
While Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the ODI and T20I teams respectively, wicketkeeper Tanya Bhatia has also been dropped from the squads