Almost half way through the ICC Women’s world Twenty20 and all the 10 teams have pulled up their socks heading towards possessing the ultimate trophy. The 9thMatch of the championship where the Pakistan women and Ireland women locked horns at the Providence Stadium, Guyana. Winning the toss, Javeria Khan the Pakistan skipper elected to bat first.
Opening the innings for Pakistan were Nahida Khan and Ayesha Zafar, the first boundary of the Pakistan innings came off the blade of Nahida khan in 2.3 overs, lifting over the bowler- Richardson’s head opening the account of boundaries for the team. What looked like a stable start built by singles and a boundary off Nahida’s bat, soon set back with the wicket of Nahida Khan in 4.3 overs who looked quite shaky from the very start lifted it on the off-side but fails to clear Gaby Lewis at mid-off and gets caught off Metcalfe’s bowling. Ireland got their first wicket. Pakistan was then 16-1. The skipper walks on to the turf, right-handed bat Javeria Khan. The end of the mandatory power play and Pakistan were 20 at the loss of one wicket. Just when it seemed like a partnership is building the innings for Pakistan, the remaining opened, Ayesha Zafar was sent back to the pavilion effected through a run-out, the ball was wristed towards mid-wicket but great with the reflexes, Isobel Joyce with her direct hit on the bowler’s end and Ireland celebrate their second wicket. Zafar back after her 21 off 22 deliveries and now Pakistan were 53-2 mid-way through the innings. It was time for the skipper to take the charge and make sure the team reaches the par score.
A good partnership between the captain and right-handed bat, Omaima Sohail as Pakistan crossed the 100 run mark. Right after crossing the mark, one more wicket fell for Pakistan in the form of Sohail as she lofted a juicy full toss trying to get over the boundary through long off, but just not powering enough and caught by Isobel Joyce off Celeste Raack. Sohail back after her 18 off 19 balls. Pakistan again flickering at 101-3 after 16.1 overs. FIFTY! But a positive note came right after as the skipper reached a fantastic, well built half century in style, hitting a classy boundary. The skipper building her innings and the Pakistan innings with some brilliant footwork. After a well structured fifty, it was time to shift gears to make sure the team reaches the par score. Reaching the last over, Lucy OReilly was on some absolute fire!! Conceding just four runs for 3 wickets was some sheer class. That is what did not let Pakistan get the most of the last over; such brilliance was displayed from OReilly. The Pakistan innings was wrapped up for 139 runs at the loss of 6 wickets.
With some well built short partnerships and a master class half ton from the skipper Javeria khan, Pakistan reached a par score. The intervals at which the wickets fell for Pakistan paced down the runs for the batting side, else they could have got around 15-20 runs more. With Javeria Khan finishing as the top scorer from the side batting first with her blistering knock of 74 not out with 11 boundaries, it was time for the chase to begin complimented by Pakistan’s strength- the spin attack!
The Chase began for the Irish women with their most experienced batter Clare Shillington and Gaby Lewis. 140 to chase at 7.00 RPO. The first boundary for the Irish women came off the willow of Shillington in 1.5 overs sending it square past the point. But soon the Pakistan women struck and none other than Sana Mir bringing the first break through for the team, sending back Lewis, stumped by Sidra Nawaz after her 2 off 6 deliveries. Soon, Shillington was sent back bowled out by Sandhu and Ireland was struggling. The end of the power play and Ireland with 36 runs on board with 2 wickets down. The other two wickets came in quick succession too. Richardson was sent back after a duck and just when Isobel Joyce looked settled and was looking to build some good partnership, Aiman Anwer struck sending her back, a delivery crashing right on to the leg stump and LBW it was! Ireland in some serious trouble now on 76-4 after 14.2 overs. After the fall of Joyce, there was no settling for Ireland as wickets kept falling and the required run rate kept rising. All the remaining batters were sent back after single digit scores and the Ireland innings collapsed on 101 with a fall of 9 wickets after 20 overs. Lack of partnerships and some serious brilliance from the Pakistan bowlers with Sana Mir, Aiman Anwer, Nashra Sandhu and Aliya Riaz picking two wickets each and Bismah Maroof with one wicket, the Irish innings just could not take off. The plus point for the Irish women was some fabulous bowling from Lucy OReilly claiming 3 wickets from her 4 overs at an economy of 4.8 RPO.
A must win for the Pakistan women to stay alive in the tournament and it came with some brilliant performance especially from the bowlers. However, as for Ireland there are various areas still remaining to be worked upon. Especially the batting, after all it is all about the partnerships when chasing! The Star of the match was none other than Javeria Khan for her absolutely stunning knock making sure her team stays alive in the contest! However there is a long way to go and consistency will be the key to battle and top the table where the likes of teams like India and Australia are dominating.
Ireland play their next contest against India on 15th November at 8:30 pm IST at the same venue and Pakistan play the Kiwis on 16th November at 1:30 pm IST at Guyana.
The 22 Yard stretch that molded me, is what I hold sacred. A cricketer weaving life’s innings into words. A Rohit Sharma Admirer always. I believe writing and cricket aren’t passions, but ways of life, so truly living the dream!