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Mandhana, Rana star in India’s comprehensive win

Sneh Rana’s double-wicket over, which turned the tide of Pakistan’s innings, and Smriti Mandhana’s aggressive 63 not out gave India a crushing eight-wicket victory on Sunday, giving them their first points at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. (July 31).

In a game that was cut short to 18 overs each side after the toss was postponed three times owing to a light rain, Bismah Maroof chose to bat first for her team.

Although Mubeena Ali played out a maiden up front, they didn’t quite get off to the start she had hoped for with Meghna Singh producing a nick off Iram Javed’s bat. However, when Maroof joined the undefeated starter in the middle, the runs began to pour in.

As they abundantly switched the strike in the half-century second-wicket partnership, Pakistan’s hitters shown far greater scoring intent than they did in their tournament opener against Barbados. The highlight of Mubeena’s 30-ball 32 was the slog for a six over midwicket, which she dutifully delivered to the legside boundary to keep the boundaries flowing off India’s two pacers.

In the ninth over, Maroof was caught by Rana as the Pakistani captain missed her sweep. Two balls later, Mubeena provided an easy comeback catch for the India all-rounder. Pakistan failed to pick up speed in the second half as both set batsmen were removed in the span of four deliveries at the midway point.

Both batsmen made ten runs apiece when Ayesha Naseem was beautifully collected by Jemimah Rodrigues at midwicket and Omiama Sohail was run out following a nasty mid-pitch mix-up. Both Fatima Sana and Aliya Riaz scored a boundary off of Deepti, but they were both out on successive balls in the next over—the former by Shafali Verma’s brilliant straight shot, and the latter by Fatima Sana’s chipped low return catch. On 99, Radha Yadav completed the tail, leading to Pakistan’s third run-out of the innings.

With a six and a four off Anam Amin in the second over, Mandhana launched India’s 100-run pursuit. The India vice-captain struck three boundaries in Diana Baig’s second over, prompting Pakistan to remove her from the attack, as she embarked on a boundary-hitting rampage. Amin let 16 slip in her second, this time with Verma taking the offensive. The left-arm spinner was also immediately removed.

Fatima Sana was introduced into the assault by Maroof, and Mandhana treated the teenager similarly by lofting a ball over mid-on and into the bleachers to bring up India’s fifty in the fifth over alone. Both of India’s openers welcomed Tuba Hassan with boundaries, but the youthful spinner provided some solace when Verma was caught behind for 16 off just nine. But appropriately, Mandhana hit another of those sixes right down the ground to reach her 15th T20I fifty, and she also hit a four to end the match in the very next over.


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