Women’s Asia Cup : Nida Dar’s all-round show, bowlers help Pakistan secure upset win over India

Sylhet (Bangladesh) : Just 24 hours after Pakistan endured a shock four-wicket loss to Thailand in the Women’s Asia Cup, they bounced back in style by pulling off an upset 13-run victory over India at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Friday’s thrilling match also marks just the third time Pakistan have beaten India in 13 T20Is and also the first time they defeated their arch-rivals in the history of Women’s Asia Cup. Pakistan’s famous victory was led by all-rounder Nida Dar, who slammed an attacking 56 not out off 37 balls for the side to get 137/6 in 20 overs.

With the ball, she then took figures of 2/23 in her four overs of off-spin, including of India captain Harmanpreet Kaur. Left-arm spinner Nashra Sundhu was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan with 3/30 while Sadia Iqbal had figures of 2/24 to bowl out India for 124 in 19.4 overs.

In the chase, none of the Indian batters were settled at the crease, with Richa Ghosh giving Pakistan a late scare with 26 off just 13 balls, hitting three sixes and a four. But once she was caught at long-on by Aliya Riaz for her third clutch catch of the match, the result became a foregone conclusion.

Electing to bat first, Muneeba Ali and Sidra Amin began by taking a four each off Renuka Thakur and Deepti Sharma. But the duo fell in successive overs Sidra nicked behind on an outside off-stump delivery off Pooja Vastrakar while Deepti Sharma had Muneeba stumped and Omaima Sohail trapped lbw in three balls.

With Pakistan reduced to 33/3 at the end of power-play, Nida came out all guns blazing and took the attack to the Indian bowlers. She began by sweeping Radha Yadav with authority for four and followed it up by dancing down the pitch to loft Rajeshwari Gayakwad over mid-on for another four.

She feasted on Dayalan Hemalatha’s full deliveries with a powerful slog for four and waltzed down to slam a six down the ground. Nida then swiped Pooja through cow corner for four before captain Bismah Maroof joined in with a pulled four and then playing the square drive against Renuka for another four.

The 76-run stand off 58 balls was brought to an end when Bismah shuffled across to lap over fine leg but holed out to short third man off Renuka. After Nida reached her sixth T20I fifty, Pooja and Deepti took out Aliya Riaz and Ayesha Naseem in the last three overs as Pakistan made 137/6.

In the chase, Sabbhineni Meghana got going with a six and four off Nida and Sadia respectively. But in the fourth over, she sliced straight to cover off Nashra. Jemimah Rodrigues struggled to hit her groove despite surviving two chances and top-edged a sweep to point off Nida.

Hemalatha and Smriti Mandhana hit a couple of boundaries to get India back in the match. But Nashra got Smriti out by holing out to long-on. More chaos ensued as Pooja was run-out in a massive mix-up and in the next over, Hemalatha was castled by Tuba Hasan.

Harmanpreet and Deepti hit four fours in their 26-run partnership off 19 balls for the sixth wicket before the latter top-edged a sweep off Sadia. In the next over, Harmanpreet tried to loft-off but found the fielder instead.

Richa tried to pull off a heist by smacking Nashra for back-to-back sixes on the leg-side in the 18th over. She then hit another six over deep mid-wicket and a lofted four over cover off Sadia in the 19th over to keep the hopes alive for an unlikely win.

But when her slog-sweep found the fielder at long-on, the result was assured to be going Pakistan’s way.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 137/6 in 20 overs (Nida Dar 56 not out, Bismah Maroof 32; Deepti Sharma 3/27, Pooja Vastrakar 2/23) beat India 124 all-out in 19.4 overs (Richa Ghosh 26, Dayalan Hemalatha 20; Nashra Sundhu 3/30, Nida Dar 2/23) by 13 runs



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