Rodrigues brilliance fires India to memorable win over Pakistan
Khel Today Bureau
New Delhi: Jemimah Rodrigues’s ruthless late assault helped power India past rivals Pakistan at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Chasing a target of 150 to win, the Indian No.3 struck a brilliant 53 not out off just 38 deliveries to haul her team over the line with one over remaining.
Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof helped anchor her side to a competitive total of 149 for four after winning the toss in Cape Town.
Nashra Sandhu’s economical spell of left-arm spin had looked to put Pakistan in pole position for victory but Rodrigues, accompanied by wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh, embarked on a thrilling onslaught to fire India to a seven-wicket win in Group B.
After losing the toss, India required fewer than two overs to grab the breakthrough as off-spinner Deepti Sharma removed Javeria Khan for eight.
That brought Bismah to the crease and accompanied by Muneeba Ali, the Pakistan skipper helped construct a partnership of 32 before wicketkeeper Muneeba was stumped off the bowling of Radha Yadav.
Bismah then lost new partner Nida Dar off just her second delivery – caught behind by Ghosh off Pooja Vastrakar – before Sidra Ameen was similarly snared by the India wicketkeeper off left-arm spinner Yadav.
But Bismah continued to motor on, finding a longer-term partner in the form of Ayesha Naseem and soon bringing up her 50 off 45 deliveries.
Ayesha’s arrival injected additional urgency into proceedings as she struck Renuka Singh for a four and six in consecutive deliveries.
And she cleared the rope once again in the final over to help haul her side to a total of 149 for four, finishing with a power-packed 43 not out off just 25 balls with Bismah on an unbeaten 68 at the other end.
India started solidly in their pursuit of the target as openers Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma put on 33 heading into the final over of the powerplay.
But Pakistan soon struck as Sadia Iqbal removed Bhatia for 17, chipping straight to Fatima Sana who held a straightforward catch at cover.
Verma navigated her way to a measured 33 off 25 balls before Pakistan claimed their second scalp, Sidra pulling off a stunning catch on the boundary off Nashra.
Nashra’s impressive middle overs spell continued to turn the screw for Pakistan and she soon struck once again by dismissing Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, caught by opposite number Bismah when attempting a slog sweep on 16.
That looked to put Pakistan on the brink of victory but India responded in style, with Rodrigues leading the charge alongside Ghosh.
The dangerous duo clattered a combined 27 runs off the 17th and 18th overs to leave their side with just 14 required from the final 12 balls.
And they only required half of that number to do so as Rodrigues struck three fours off Sana’s final over to bring up a brilliant half-century and fire her side to a memorable T20 World Cup victory.
Scores in brief:
India beat Pakistan at Cape Town by seven wickets
Pakistan 149 for four in 20 overs (Bismah Maroof 68 not out, Ayesha Naseem 43 not out; Radha Yadav 2/21, Pooja Vastrakar 1/31)
India 151 for three in 19 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 53 not out, Shafali Verma 33; Nashra Sandhu 2/15, Sadia Iqbal 1/25)
Player of the Match: Jemimah Rodrigues (India)