West Indies downs Pakistan in low-scoring thriller

West Indies beat Pakistan by four runs in close contest to open its World T20 campaign with a win.

Anisa Mohammed took three wickets for 25 runs.   -  V. Ganesan

With Pakistan needing 23 runs off 12 balls, Asmavia Iqbal heaved West Indies’ Anisa Mohammad’s ball past the deep mid-wicket ropes. The 1,380 (approx) gathered at the M. A. Chidambaram stadium here erupted for the first time.

However, that remained the only six of the match as Pakistan failed to score a much needed boundary and lost its first match of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 - a low-scoring thriller - by four runs.

Pakistan had a setback, four balls into its chase of 104, as Shamilia Connell’s bouncer knocked down opener Javeria Khan, who retired hurt without scoring a run.

Javeria’s opening partner Sidra Ameen and Bismah Maroof then put on a 40-run second wicket stand in nine overs. Despite the slow scoring rate, Pakistan was comfortably placed with nine wickets remaining… until off-spinner Anisa Mohammed dented it with three quick wickets. From 40 for no loss, Pakistanis were struggling at 44 for three.

The Pakistani slow bowlers cramped the West Indian batters throughout the innings letting them score a paltry 103 for six. Except medium-pacer Asmavia Iqbal’s three overs (which yielded 16 runs), the Caribbeans had to face 17 overs of spin with unease. “I should have made it 18,” quipped Pakistan skipper Sana Mir after the match.

The West Indian skipper Stefanie Taylor, who top-scored for her team with 48-ball 40, too, seemed constricted against the slow bowlers. But she hung in there, anchoring her team’s innings, which received little impetus throughout the 20 overs. Taylor waited for the rare ‘bad balls’ (the ones that came on to her pads and the short-and-wide ones) and capitalised on them. Apart from Taylor’s five fours and the one hit by opener Haley Mathews, the team hit no boundaries.

Left-arm spinner Anam Amin, with four wickets, accounted for the most number of scalps including that of skipper Stefanie Taylor. Her line was wicket to wicket. She varied the lengths cleverly and seemed to get some bounce and turn off the surface. Sadia Yousuf picked two wickets.

There were a couple of run outs at different stages of the West Indies innings. And neither were a result of Pakistan’s brilliant fielding effort. Both Shaquana Quintyne (in the sixth over) and Britney Cooper (in the 15th) lost their wickets because of sluggish, uncertain running between the wickets.

Brief scores

West Indies 103 for eight in 20 overs (Stafanie Taylor 40, Anam Amin four for 16, Sadia Yousaf two for 14) beat Pakistan 99 for five in 20 overs (Sidra Amin 20, Bismah Maroof 22, Anisa Mohammed three for 25)

Javeria Khan’s injury update: Pakistan opener Javeria Khan, who was struck on the jaw was taken to a local hospital. A precautionary scan was taken and has been kept under observation for a day.