Jemimah Rodrigues and teenager Richa Ghosh took India to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan in their Women’s T20 World Cup match at Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday.
What had been a tense run chase turned into a comfortable win with an over to spare as Rodrigues and Ghosh put on an unbeaten 58 off 33 balls.
Rodrigues batted with calm skill to make 53 not out off 38 balls while Ghosh, 19, hit powerfully to score 31 not out off 20 balls.
Pakistan posted 149 for four after deciding to bat on a dry pitch.
It was a total which looked unlikely when they were labouring at 68 for four in the 13th over.
But captain Bismah Maroof (68 not out) and Ayesha Naseem (43 not out) transformed the innings in an unbeaten partnership of 81 off 47 balls.
The left-handed Maroof faced 55 balls and hit seven fours while the 18-year-old Naseem hammered her runs off 25 balls, hitting two fours and two sixes.
Naseem almost immediately went on the attack with some powerful hitting, including a six beyond long-off in an over from the medium-paced Renuka Singh which cost 18 runs.
The Indian innings followed a similar pattern with Pakistan left-arm spinner Nashra Sadhu bowling superbly to take two for 15 in her four overs.
Sadhu dismissed Shafali Verma, who was superbly caught on the boundary by Sidra Ameen, and Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, leaving India needing to score almost 10 runs an over in the last six overs.
But Pakistan paid the price for only picking five bowlers and the remaining bowlers were expensive, while their fielders were guilty of several misfields.
Three boundaries by Ghosh off successive balls from Aiman Anwer in the 18th over effectively settled the match.