KARACHI: After dominating in two lopsided games to secure the series, Pakistan women took it to the last ball to complete their Twenty20 International series whitewash over Sri Lanka here at the Southend Club on Saturday.
The home side was expected to execute a fairly smooth chase of 108 runs — a total turning out to be competitive despite a collapse following a blistering opening partnership by Sri Lanka — but things got complicated to make the dead rubber an interesting affair.
With Pakistan stuttering at 91-6 by the start of the 18th over when veteran all-rounder Nida Dar, while attempting to sweep, was trapped leg-before by Sri Lankan off-spinner Kavisha Dilhari, in came skipper Bismah Maroof with Kainat Imtiaz at the other end.
Bismah, who had batted at number four in the first two matches, reminded Pakistan all they needed was some stability at the crease, nudging around singles and doubles for her run-a-ball 15 to take her team across the finish line, and be adjudged player-of-the-match.
Unlike the first two games, the match-winner for Pakistan was a senior player in Bismah. The 30-year-old however, was full of praise for the younger players who were capped ahead of the series.
“Ideal to give to the youngsters who have responded well,” Bismah said after the match.
“We want to continue the momentum for the important ODI series as that carries points as well.”
More could have been required from the Pakistan captain had it not been for quick runs by Ayesha Naseem (10 off 6) and a run-a-ball 14 by Nida. While Pakistan maintained a decent run-rate, they failed to form partnerships as wickets kept falling thanks to Oshadi Ranasinghe’s wrist-spin.
After left-arm spinner Sugandika Kumari had given Sri Lanka their first breakthrough, castling opener Iram Javed in the third over, Ranasinghe got her first wicket, when Omaima Sohail (4 off 11) was stumped by wicket-keeper Anushka Sanjeewani in the eighth.
The hosts then lost their well-set opener Muneeba Ali, who had smashed three fours in her 33-ball 25, when she danced forward to clear the cover region, only to get stumped off off-spinner Kavisha Dilhari.
The incoming Ayesha, who was key in Pakistan’s win in the second T20, looked like doing it again when she smashed Ranasinghe for a six over cow corner, only to become the spinner’s second victim when Nikasha de Silva caught her brilliantly at long-on on the next ball. Two overs later, the duo combined to dismiss Aliya Riaz (17 off 23) in a similar fashion, before Dilhari dismissed Nida and Bismah arrived at the crease.
Sri Lanka would have rued not capitalising on a quick-fire opening partnership between Hasini Perera (27 off 30) and captain Chamari Athapaththu (37 off 38, two fours). The duo combined to put up 69 runs in 11 overs before Bismah and Nida collaborated to run out Perera following a mix up between the batters.
Nida struck on the next ball to dismiss Athapaththu before Sri Lanka lost Ranasinghe, Harshitha Madavi, Ama Kanchana and Kumari to run-outs to find themselves in hot waters at 83-7 before the end of the 17th over. It was Sanjeewani’s unbeaten 14 off 17 (two fours) which helped Sri Lanka get to 107.
“We tried to score more, the start was good but the run-outs set us back,” said Athapaththu.
“Some players focus too much on getting singles and are not trusting their hitting abilities, that’s leading to run outs.
“There are positives as we fought till the end.”
The three ODIs between the two teams will be played on June 1, 3 and 5 at the same venue. The matches will be contested as a part of the ICC Women’s Championship.
SRI LANKA 107-8 in 20 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 37, Hasini Perera 24; Kainat Imtiaz 1-19); PAKISTAN 108-6 in 20 overs (Muneeba Ali 25, Aliya Riaz 17; Oshadi Ranasinghe 3-18).
Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2022