At one point the Indian women needed 47 runs in the last five overs. The 1.4 billion Indian thoughts went back to Virat Kohli’s innings in the T20 World Cup against Pakistan just a couple of months ago. The Chase Master had tamed the Pakistanis by hunting down 48 in 3 overs. The girls had a couple of more overs to get the same number of runs. But did they have a King Kohli in their Ranks? Oh yes, they most certainly did! Richa Ghosh, the gum-chewing, big-hitting teenager who won the Under-19 World Cup last month, smashed Aiman Anwer for three successive fours in the 18th over. At the other end, Rodrigues, who had held the batting line-up together, found her range. The India Vs Pakistan Women T20 World Cup match had one decisive winner – India!

Jemimah pulled, swept and then fittingly hit the winning runs by backing away and carving a boundary through extra cover, which also brought up her half-century. Known as an anchor in the Indian innings, Jemimah played out of her skin to get the Indian team across the line. The Pakistani’s did not know what hit them in the last couple of overs. Confidence gave way to nerves, fielders fumbled, bowlers lost their lengths, and they leaked eight boundaries. And that was the game, set and match to India.

Their unbroken 58-run stand, a perfect combination of aggression and touch play for the best part, leading India to their highest successful chase at the Women’s T20 World Cup.

Bismah Maroof Leads the Way

Earlier, Bismah Maroof’s career strike rate over 122 in T20I innings prior to Sunday stood at 90. When she walked out to bat in the second over, she was faced with the challenge of forcing the pace on a slow surface with a lot of grip. Manufacturing shots wasn’t easy as Javeria Khan had found out in her short stay before top-edging a sweep. And so, Maroof got her eye in by playing street-smart cricket, ensuring Pakistan kept scoring at least at a run a ball, until they got to a stage from where they could launch.

Ayesha Naseem Gives India the Jitters

Maroof now needed a partner to play the perfect foil, and she found one in Ayesha Naseem. All of 18, Naseem showed why she’s rated highlty. On Sunday, she played a knock that matched the grandeur of the occasion, and in doing so, briefly gave India the jitters. In throwing Renuka Singh off guard with 18 runs off the 16th over, she changed the complexion of the innings.

And suddenly, here they were with Maroof nudging and caressing the ball into the gaps for her half-century, while Naseem backed away and muscled big hits for fun. Pakistan found their hitting range and scored 58 off the last five to post their highest total in a World Cup, setting India 150 to win.

Toss Update –

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat in the India Vs Pakistan Women T20 World Cup against India.

Maroof hoped her side could put up a good total and defend later on dry surface. The Pakistani women went in with three frontline options in Nida Dar, Nashra Sandhu and Sadia Iqbal. Indian Captain, Harmanpreet Kaur, too said she would’ve batted on this “tricky surface”. Harleen Deol was included in the side in place of Smriti Mandhana who missed out due to a finger injury.

India too was spin heavy with Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad. This meant there was no place for the experienced Shikha Pandey, who made her international comeback after 18 months. India’s pace attack will be spearheaded by Renuka Singh, with all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar lining up as the second seam option.

Two of Pakistan’s three wins against India in a women’s world event have come at the T20 World Cup – Colombo (2012) and New Delhi (2016). Pakistan beat India in their most-recent outing at the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in September.

Pakistan XI: Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali (wk), Bismah Maroof (capt), Nida Dar, Sidra Ameen, Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Fatima Sana, Aiman Anwer, Nashra Sandhu, Sadia Iqbal

India XI: Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Richa Ghosh (wk), Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Thakur Singh

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Team News

Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the match against Pakistan in Cape Town due to a finger injury.

However, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the stand-in coach, has confirmed there’s no fracture, which means Mandhana is likely to be available from India’s second game onwards, against West Indies on February 15.

He was positive on Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain, who has been declared fit to play. Harmanpreet had picked up a shoulder niggle during the recently concluded tri-series against West Indies and South Africa.


India Women Squad: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh(w), Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Thakur Singh, Shikha Pandey, Devika Vaidya, Harleen Deol, Anjali Sarvani

Pakistan Women Squad: Muneeba Ali, Sidra Ameen, Bismah Maroof(c), Omaima Sohail, Nida Dar, Aliya Riaz, Sidra Nawaz(w), Fatima Sana, Nashra Sandhu, Javeria Khan, Aiman Anwer, Sadia Iqbal, Ayesha Naseem, Tuba Hassan, Sadaf Shamas

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