History was in the making by the Indian women’s cricket team as they powered to the second highest run chase in the antiquity of T20 Women’s World Cup, thumping their arch-rivals in clinical fashion. Winning the toss, Pakistan opted to bat first as the surface seemed a pretty decent one to swing one’s willow early in the game.
However, the Indian bowlers had other plans as Deepti Sharma produced the big wicket of Javeria Khan, thanks to the Indian skipper for completing an easy take. The Pakistani captain seemed to be in solid control of the proceedings as she paired well with Muneeba Ali to keep the ship afloat but the resistance was shortlived.
India struck a double whammy in quick succession as they got the better of Muneeba and Pakistan’s most experienced and finest campaigner, Nida Dar for cheap. Sidra Ameen could add very little to the total as the woes kept on mounting for the women in green.
However, the Pakistani captain, Bismah showcased her hard-hitting flair accompanied by some terrific striking of the cherry from Ayesha Naseem, whacking her way to glory. The Indian bowlers failed to conjure any further breakthrough as they were confronted with a target of 150, courtesy of an 81-run stand between Bismah and Ayesha.
India got off to a flying start despite an overturned appeal against Shafali Verma and the absence of Smriti Mandhana who was sidelined with an injury a day before. However, the Pakistani bowlers managed to soon catch up with the Indian speed as they conjured a flurry of wickets in quick succession, sending the two openers back to pavilion.
Despite a decent start from Harmanpreet Kaur, India had further reasons to frown profusely as they were left teetering at 93 for 3 with just 39 balls to go and a staggering 57 runs required. India was almost left crippled when Richa Ghosh had an early appeal of LBW being given against her only to be later rescinded by a glimpse of the ball kissing her gloves that forced the umpire to overturn her decision.
Making full use of the lifeline, Ghosh went ballistic, smashing 5 fours during her residence at the crease while Jemimah Rodriguez, the woman who stood tall under immense pressure, steering the Indian ship to safety first and then rocketing it past the finish line, battered the Pakistani bowlers to various ends of the rope, making it an emphatic outing for the women in blue. In what one would call a poetic strike, Rodriguez, very rightly completed her half-century with the coup de grace that left Pakistan with a bitter taste in their mouth as India romped off to a fine victory in their tournament opener. The women in blue takes on West Indies next on the 15th of February at the same venue, hoping to extend their winning run to a second consecutive game in the World Cup.