Mithali slams fifty as India thrashes Pakistan

Mithali anchored the Indian run chase with a 47-ball 56 which she made with the help of seven fours in the Group B match which was marred by unprecedented docking of 10 penalty runs on Pakistan.

Mithali Raj made a brilliant match-winning half-century as India eves defeated Pakistan.   -  ICC

Veteran Mithali Raj smashed an aggressive half century to guide India to an easy seven-wicket victory over arch-rival Pakistan in the ICC Women’s World T20 on Sunday.

Mithali anchored the Indian run chase with a 47-ball 56 which she made with the help of seven fours in the Group B match which was marred by unprecedented docking of 10 penalty runs on Pakistan.

Even before a ball being faced, 10 runs were on India’s scoreboard after Pakistan was docked a five-run penalty twice during its innings on account of its batswomen running on the danger area of the pitch.

As it Happened

India chased down the target of 134 with six balls to spare, reaching 137 for 3 in 19 overs. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy remained unbeaten on 14 and 8 respectively.

With the win on Sunday, India (with four points) made a big step towards making it to the semifinals from the five-team Group B. Two teams each from the two groups qualify for the semifinals.

India also avenged its narrow 2-run defeat under D/L method against Pakistan in New Delhi in the previous edition of the tournament in 2016.

India made a strong start with openers Mithali and Smriti Mandhana (26) finding the boundaries at regular intervals in their 73-run stand from 9.3 overs.

Mandhana fell to Bismah Maroof with Omaima Sohail taking a superb catch at deep square leg.

The 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues (16), who scored a half century in the previous game against New Zealand, seemed to continue from where she left but she played a shot too many and perished in the process, caught and bowled by Nida Dar in the 15th over.

Earlier, Indian bowlers pinned Pakistan down for most part of their innings before allowing Pakistan to wriggle out to 133 for 7.

Opting to field after winning the toss, India made a great start with the ball, reducing Pakistan to 30 for 3 in the seventh over.

Pakistan made a fine recovery thanks to half centuries from Bismah Maroof (53) and Nida Dar (52) as the duo stitched 93 runs for the fourth wicket to take their side to a competitive total.

India also dropped three catches, which allowed Pakistan to come back into the contest.

Opening bowler Arundhati Reddy gave India the breakthrough by having Ayesha Zafar caught at the slips by Veda for nought in the final delivery of the first over.

Pakistan was yet to open account then and it could have been in a worse situation had Smriti not dropped captain Javeria Khan in the third over.

But two run-outs in the space of three overs gave India the upper hand. First an outstanding direct throw from 18-year old Rodrigues sent Umaima Sohail back to the pavilion in the fourth over while captain Javeria witnessed the same fate in the seventh over after a mix-up.

Veda dropped Nida Dar while on 15 in the 11th over. Poonam Yadav too dropped Dar in the 13th over when she was on 23.

The next over, Poonam made a mess of a Bismah Maroof skier as she completely misjudged the trajectory of the ball.

Pakistan was still not out of the woods as it could only reach 53 for 3 at the half-way stage but sloppy Indian fielding allowed their two batswomen Dar and Maroof to gain in confidence.

The Pakistani duo began to hit boundaries at regular intervals and both reached to their fifties towards the end of the innings. Maroof was the first to reach to her fifty in the 17th over while Dar did the same in the next over.

Both perished in the 19th over in the space of three balls with Dayalan Hemalatha taking their wickets. Poonam then scalped two wickets in the final over — of Aliya Riaz (4) and Sana Mir (0).

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