Clinical Pakistan blank SL 3-0 with last-ball triumph

Alam Zeb Safi
Sunday, May 29, 2022

KARACHI: Five run-outs from the fielders and an unbeaten run-a-ball 15 under pressure from skipper Bismah Maroof enabled Pakistan women cricket team to complete a clean sweep of the three-match T20I series when they edged Sri Lanka by four wickets in their third and final game here at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Chasing 108, Pakistan needed eight off the last over from off-spinner Kavisha Dilhari and eventually four off the final two balls. Bismah, who came on to bat at No7, did the job by taking two runs each of these two deliveries to help the hosts seal the series 3-0.

Earlier, despite a terrific start from skipper Chamari Athapaththu (37) and Hasini Perera (24), Sri Lanka faced a huge collapse and were restricted to 107-8, though their highest total in this series.

Chasing a low total, Pakistan’s top-order struggled and were at one stage reduced to 91-6, needing 17 off 16 balls.

However Bismah kept her cool and played a sheet-anchor role with Kainat Imtiaz (4*) —supporting her at the other end and managed to steer Pakistan home.

Stumper Muneeba Ali top-scored with 33-ball 25, hitting three fours while Aliya Riaz (17) and experienced Nida Dar (14) also made some useful contributions.

Ayesha Naseem chipped in with a six-ball 10 including a huge six. Oshadi Ranasinghe was the pick of the bowlers with 3-18 in four overs. Kavisha Dilhari got 2-28 in her quota of four overs.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss for the third successive time, it was the day of Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapththu who looked in a dangerous mood. She managed some super strokes with Hasini Perera responding equally well at the other end. The duo added 69 for the opening stand off 68 balls. Perera was the first to get run out by Bismah after she had hit two fours in her 30 balls effort.

Off the next ball Nida Dar got rid of Chamari, held nicely by Iram Javed in the deep. Chamari struck two sixes and two fours in her gritty knock. And from there the things started going against the visitors as they were restricted to only 107-8.

They lost their seven wickets inside 14 runs when they slumped from 69-0 to 83-7. Five of their batters got run out. This was the 14th time in women T20I cricket that five batters got run out in an innings.

Leggie Tuba (1-23), Kainat Imtiaz (1-19) and Nida Dar (1-1) were the successful bowlers.

Bismah was adjudged as player of the match while Tuba was declared as player of the series for claiming five wickets.

“The credit goes to the entire team,” Pakistan skipper Bismah said. “It was an ideal time to give chances to youngsters and they all lived up to the billing. Tuba made a dream debut and I hope she will continue with the same momentum,” the captain said, adding that they would take the same momentum into the ODI series.

Sri Lanka skipper Chamari was happy with a few positives.

“The big positive is that we took the game to the last ball and will try to do well in the ODI series,” Chamari said.

The three-match ODI series will be held at the same venue from June 1-5.