India made it two wins out of two at the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 as they defeated Pakistan by seven wickets with a full over to spare at the Providence Ground in Guyana on Sunday.
Chasing 134 for victory, veteran Mithali Raj starred with a composed half century before Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy guided India home.
Raj was declared player of the match for 47-ball 56 with seven fours.
India began the run-chase with an advantage of being awarded 10 penalty runs after Pakistan were warned twice for running down the danger area on the pitch. In the end, that didn’t prove to be too much of a hassle with Raj — opening the batting this time around after not getting to bat in the first match against New Zealand — and Smriti Mandhana put on a solid opening stand.
Mandhana fell for 26 but Raj continued on, playing smart cricket. The 35-year-old got her fifty off 42 balls but fell in the 18th over.
Earlier, India’s effort on the field in the first innings was a curious case study. They started well with Krisnamurthy taking a smart catch at wide first slip in the first over and Jemimah Rodrigues producing a stunning direct hit to provide India two early wickets after Kaur won the toss. After another run-out, Pakistan were three wickets down in the Poweplay.
From then Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar put together a record-breaking partnership that took Pakistan to their highest ever T20I score. Both batters scored half centuries — which was the first two instances of Pakistan players scoring past 50 in a T20I against India.
India, however, were poor on the field when it came to catching. Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Poonam Yadav (twice) were guilty of missing simple catches. Maroof and Dar both benefited from the dropped catches and went on to put up a record score for Pakistan.
Dar prospered from two of those chances (dropped on 15 and 29) and Mahroof from one (dropped on 28), and both combined for a fourth wicket partnership of 94 off 71 balls. It was Pakistan’s best partnership against India in T20Is.
Both batters set personal bests on the way, Mahroof (53, 49b, 4x4) getting the highest score for Pakistan against India, and Dar (52, 35b, 5x4, 2x6) her first fifty in T20Is. Their efforts were dented though as 10 penalty runs were awarded to India due to the Pakistan batters running on the pitch twice after being officially warned by the umpires. Poonam Yadav (2 for 22) took two wickets in the final over of the innings to finish the pick of the bowlers. D Hemalatha also picked up two wickets.
Pakistan were unable to exert any pressure as a bowling unit as Mithali Raj dominated in a 73-run opening partnership with Smriti Mandhana (26, 28b, 4x4).
With her 16th T20I fifty, Mithali became the third batter to score more than 500 T20I runs in 2018. She added a further 28 runs with Jemimah Rodrigues (16, 21b, 1x4), before being dismissed in the 18th over with India eight short of the target. Three Pakistan bowlers picked up a wicket each.
India will play Ireland next on 15 November, while Pakistan will face the same team two days earlier, on the 13th.
Scores in brief:
India defeated Pakistan by seven wickets at the Guyana National Stadium in Georgetown
Pakistan: 133-7, 20 overs (Bisman Mahroof 53, Nida Dar 52; Poonam Yadav 2-22, Dayalan Hemalatha 2-34)
India: 137-3 in 19 overs (Mithali Raj 56, Smriti Mandhana 26)
(With ICC inputs)
Correction: Previous version of this article said it was Mithali Raj’s 15th T20I fifty. It’s actually her 16th.