Women’s T20 WC: Bismah, Ayesha propel Pakistan to 149/4 against India

Cape Town [South Africa], February 12 (ANI): Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof played a captain’s knock to clinch a half-century while Ayesha Naseem’s impactful inning helped Pakistan reach a competitive total of 149 runs against India in the Women’s T20 World Cup on Sunday.

Ayesha made a quickfire 43 from 25 balls while the skipper played the role of the sheet anchor to remain unbeaten on 68 runs. India made Pakistan’s work easy as there were fielding lapses across the inning.

Spinner Radha Yadav was India’s star with the ball taking two wickets for just 21 runs in her four overs.

Pakistan opted to bat first in their campaign opener and got off to a sluggish start as they lost opener Javeria Khan in the second over after she found the India skipper at square-leg off all-rounder Deepti Sharma.

The Pakistan skipper played some blistering strokes to ensure the scoreboard kept ticking and the team does not fall into a slump. The team ended their powerplay at 39/1 with Maroof batting at 21(20).

Muneeba Ali’s 10(10) scratchy inning was brought to an end by left-arm finger-spinner Radha Yadav in the seventh over. The spinner lured her into a heave as Richa Ghosh whipped the bails off in a flash to send the opener packing.

Pacer Pooja Vastrakar caught the big fish as she dismissed Nida Dar with a superb bouncer in the next over. Pakistan scrapped to 58/2 at the halfway mark with Maroof holding one end.

India struck again in the 13th over with Radha Yadav accounting for Sidra Ameen who struggled to find the middle of the bat and ended with 11 runs from 18 balls before getting dismissed. The dot ball pressure got to the batter as she tried the reverse sweep to break free but could only find a tickle on the glove which wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh gobbled up behind the stumps.

Middle-order batter Ayesha Naseem batted with aggressive intent and provided the much-needed impetus to Pakistan’s innings. She hit Vastrakar for a boundary in the 14th over and dealt Renuka with disdain, smashing her for a six and a four in the 16th over.

Going into the business end of the inning, Pakistan looked set to get to a competitive total with Maroof noticing up her fifty in 45 deliveries with a boundary on the first ball of the 18th over. She struck another boundary in the 19th over to get things going.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad could have bagged a wicket in the penultimate over but Radha dropped a sitter to give Ayesha a reprieve while she was batting on 36(22).

The batter made the most of the dropped catch as she bludgeoned a six in the final over, with the Pakistan skipper also helping herself to a boundary to end the inning at 149/4 in 20 overs.

Ayesha played a stunning inning of 43(25) while the captain led from the front and remained unbeaten on 68(55).

Brief Score: Pakistan 149/4 (Bismah Maroof 68, Ayesha Naseem 43; Radha Yadav 2-21) vs India (ANI)