India completed a convincing 7-wicket victory over Pakistan in the Group B encounter of the ICC World T20 in Guyana on Sunday. India’s fine display in the tournament continued as they registered their second win in as many games and moved a step closer to a semi-final berth.
Chasing a target of 134, opener Mithali Raj smashed a fine 56 from 46 balls as India’s asking rate - which wasn’t that high to begin with - never reached too high.
She paired well with fellow opener Smriti Mandhana and strung together a partnership of 63 to put the team in the driver’s seat. From there on, India never looked back and achieved the target with utmost ease.
The Harmapreet Kaur-led side was never challenged by the Pakistani bowlers during the chase as they failed to attack the batsmen enough.
What made matters worse for Pakistan was that they were hit with a 10-run penalty for repeatedly treading on the danger area of the wicket during their innings despite copping a few warnings from the umpire.
The first breakthrough for Pakistan came when Mandhana (26) tried to go for a big shot over mid wicket but was caught by Bismah Maroof near the boundary.
That wicket didn’t really hurt India much as Raj, who did not get an opportunity to bat in the first match, looked set at the other end.
With just seven runs remaining for India to win the game, Diana Baig did manage to remove the dangerous Raj but it was a case of too little, too late for Pakistan.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy ensured the remaining runs were scored with miniml fuss, with the latter scoring the runs that took the team over finish line with one over to spare.
It wasn’t best of days for teen sensation Jemimah Rodrigues, who scored 16 and was always looking for the big shots before handing an easy return catch to Nida Dar.
Earlier in the day, India won the toss and elected to field first. It proved to be the right decision on a dry pitch as the Indian bowlers made hay in the early stages of the game and had Pakistan reeling at 30/3.
The way Poonam Yadav (2/22) and Dayalan Hemalatha (2/34) bowled, it looked like India would bundle out the opposition cheaply. But that was not be, courtesy some poor catching by the Indians.
After losing three wickets early in the innings, Maroof (53) and Nida Dar (52) combined well to form a partnership of 94. They were given three reprieves by the Indians, who dropped catches with alarming regularity.
Some fine hitting towards the end by Dar, who had 5 fours and 2 sixes in her innings, propelled Pakistan to a competitive score of 133.