In the opening match for India in the ICC T20 World Cup 2023, Team India showed some outstanding calibre in all the departments to beat the arch-rivals Pakistan by 7 wickets and 6 balls remaining. A fantabulous show of standards by Jemimah Rodrigues’ unbeaten 53-run knock not only helped India register their first win in the tournament but also won her the Player of the Match award.
The captains of the arch-rivals, India and Pakistan, were up on the ground for the toss. The coin bounced in Pakistan’s favour, and they decided to bat first. To start with the bowling attack afresh, Renuka Singh was given the new ball. Just three runs in the first over which got both the Pakistan openers, Muneeba Ali and Javeria Khan, off the mark.
The first boundary of the match came from the bat Khan as she swept reverse towards the deep third area. But the cheer was short-lived with her dismissal at just 8 off 6 balls. Deepti Sharma brought the breakthrough for Women in Blue.
With some confidence built off quick running between the wickets, Bismah Maroof opened up their arms for two consecutive fours in the fourth over. To tackle the duo, a change in the bowling was seen with Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s left-arm spin. But Maroof looked to be set from the pavilion as she swept Gayakwad’s fourth ball for a beautiful sweep.
Muneeba summarized the powerplay with a powerful aerial sweep for four that read the scoreboard as 39 for 1. But the cunning delivery in the seventh over by Radha Yadav chuckled the building partnership by ousting Muneeba (12 off 14) with an outstanding stumping by Richa Ghosh.
Clouds seemed to blanket the skies for Pakistan as Pooja Vastrakar bounced in to dismiss Nida Dar for a mere duck. After two close wickets, Pakistan was in a setback that could only bring a few singles and doubles except one much-needed four by Maroof on the last ball of the twelfth over.
Next was Sidra Ameen to get the Pakistan middle order crunched as she departed for 11 off 18 balls. Radha Yadav was again on the rescue for India to restrict the partnership between Ameen and Maroof. Ayesha Naseem was fresh on the crease but with much power as it sounded off her bat in the fourteenth over as she slapped the ball for a fantastic boundary.
The first maximum of the match came to form the bat of Naseem as she plundered Renuka Singh for a six off long off followed by a well-gapped boundary on the very next ball. And 18 runs in the over staged Pakistan on some confidence for putting up a defendable total.
Maroof, on the other hand, reached her astonishing and much valuable fifty with a boundary on the very first ball of the eighteenth over and a second in the next over’s third ball. Deepti Sharma came in to bowl the last over but Naseem and Maroof were on the rocks to hammer Sharma hard for a second six of the match and a four, respectively. Pakistan concluded the innings at 149 for 4.
In Smriti Mandhana’s absence for a finger injury, Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma walked out in the middle to commence the chase of 150 runs. With a first ball dot by Fatima Sana, Bhatia pulled the second ball for a four at mid-wicket as the opening runs. And some good and clever rotation of strikes for singles and doubles brought the second boundary for Bhatia in the third over.
Verma’s first boundary ended up edging behind the slips area in the fourth over and a second in the next over. Although the last over of the powerplay started with a muscled-up boundary by Verma it summarized with Bhatia’s dismissal at 17 off 20 balls as Sadia Iqbal revamped the defence of Pakistan followed by Verma’s charged boundary against the spin.
Jemimah Rodrigues at the third down looked poised at her stance as she steered the last ball of the seventh over for a four and the next one on the second ball of the ninth. Verma looked in great touch today but a stunning catch at the boundary by Sidra Ameen brought the collapse of the U19 World Cup-winning captain at a valuable knock of 33 off just 25 balls.
Verma’s dismissal brought the Indian skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur into the middle of the chase. And her arrival kick-started with two boundaries in the eleventh over. The duo of Rodrigues and Kaur saw some fine running between the wickets but the partnership could not last long as Kaur (16 off 12 balls) had to depart for the dugout on Nashra Sandhu’s third ball of the fourteenth over.
Rodrigues kept the scoreboard advancing towards the set target with a crucial boundary on the third ball of the fifteenth over that brought 100 for the team. Richa Ghosh too contemplated the show with her two fantastically driven boundaries, one in the sixteenth and another in the seventeenth over followed by a misfield that scored Rodrigues a four more.
Ghosh turned phenomenal with her bat this evening with three consecutive copy-pasted boundaries off Aiman Anwer’s eighteenth over. 14 were needed off the last 12 balls of the match but a skilled Rodrigues finished the game in style and smart footwork with three boundaries, the last one coming on the last ball of the nineteenth over that surpassed India ahead the victory, thus clinching the Player of the Match award.
ICC T20 World Cup 2023: India vs Pakistan, Match 3 Brief Score
Pakistan 149/4 in 20 overs (Bismah Maroof 68*, Ayesha Naseem 43*; Radha Yadav 2/21) lost to India 151/3 in 19 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 53*, Shafali Varma 33, Richa Ghosh 31*; Nashra Sandhu 2/15) by 7 wickets.