Khan’s fifty lifts Pakistan to first win

Javeria Khan

Pakistan recorded their first win of the Women’s World T20 tournament with a 38-run win over Ireland at Providence last evening.

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. They piled up 139-6 from their allotted overs anchored around a scintillating half century from their captain, Javeria Khan. Ireland replied with only 101-9 as the overs ran out.

During the post-match conference held on the dilapidated top floor of the media centre, where water was constantly leaking around the electrical wires, an emotional Irish captain, Laura Delany said it was frustrating to lose a match in which they had all confidence in chasing down the par target.

For the Irish, Delany said that with Gaby Lewis promoted up the order to open, they were hoping to get off to a flier as the batting order was capable of exploding.

However, the captain pointed out from a batting perspective the team allowed a lot of dot balls which put extra pressure on the middle order but the bowling was spot on in the first 10 overs.

Playing in front of roughly 1500 persons, Pakistan were subdued at the start of their innings, losing Nadiha Khan in her 50th international T20 match for 10 after being caught by Lewis at mid off.

At the end of the power play, the Pakistani skipper looked to up the scoring rate with a boundary down the ground off of Kim Garth followed by successive boundaries to the bowling of debutant, Celeste Raack.

Ayesha Zafar got into the action with two boundaries in Delany’s first over to see Pakistan bringing up their fifty in 57 balls after being 20-1 at the end of the first six overs of power play.

However, Ireland won that over with Khan whipping the ball through mid wicket and attempting two only to find Zafar short due to an excellent throw from Isobel Joyce.

Khan and Omaima Sohail shared in a 48-run partnership for the third wicket, in the process bringing up Pakistan’s 100 in the 16th over. It  ended with Sohail holding out to Joyce at long off for 16 with the first delivery of Raack’s return spell.

But the Pakistan captain mauled Raack with three consecutive boundaries, the first one fetched across between long on and deep mid wicket to bring up her fifth half century in the format in 41 balls.

Khan, whose unbeaten 74 is the highest score by a Pakistani woman in T20I, allowed her side to score 86 from the last 10 overs but Ireland fought back with three wickets in the last over to stem the scoring.

Ireland, in pursuit of only their third win against Pakistan in 16 tries, stuttered throughout their innings with Lewis, shuffling down the wicket and being stumped for two while their most capped player, Clare Shillington was bowled by left arm spinner, Nashra Sandhu in an attempted slog sweep as they closed off their power play at 36-2.

The left arm spinner was confident in her appeal for a leg before decision against Joyce with the umpire giving it out but a review by the third umpire indicated a faint edge and the decision was overturned.

However, Eimear Richardson was not so lucky, falling leg before wicket for an eight-ball duck.

A fourth wicket partnership between Joyce and Kim Garth was looking dangerous before the settled Joyce was trapped in front of the stumps by seamer, Aiman Anwer for a 31-ball 30 consisting of four boundaries.

Mahroof, with her slingy action enticed Garth to come down the track only to have the ball rocket into her stump, ending her 18-ball stay during which she only managed eight runs.

With 49 needed from the last three overs, wicket-keeper batter, Mary Waldron looked to challenge the target with a boundary towards fine leg but was advancing to Aliya Riaz only to be hit on the pads and was given leg before wicket on the next ball.

After the match, Sandhu said her confidence was boosted by her skipper coming down to encourage her while noting that the conditions favoured the spinners as long as they bowled a good line.

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