CWC 2022: All-round Rana, Vastrakar and Gayakwad shine as India beats Pakistan in opening game 

Chasing a tricky target of 245, the Pakistan team fell way short of the mark and was all out for 137 in 43 overs, losing its 11th straight game against neighbours India in the 50-over format.

Published: 06th March 2022 02:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th March 2022 05:04 PM   |  A+A-

Sneh Rana celebrates after Richa Ghosh takes catch to dismiss Nashra Sandhu of Pakistan during the women's world cup cricket match between India and Pakistan at Bay Oval in New Zealand. (Photo| AP)

Sneh Rana celebrates after Richa Ghosh takes catch to dismiss Nashra Sandhu of Pakistan during the women's world cup cricket match between India and Pakistan at Bay Oval in New Zealand. (Photo| AP)

Express News Service

MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Pakistan being 70 for four in a chase is familiar territory. In fact, it has been the story of their batting in the last 18 months. From there, Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz would play the rescue act, before falling short of the target or a competitive total while chasing. Sunday’s clash against India in their opening game of the World Cup was no different, except that this time, the duo didn’t last against the accuracy of Jhulan Goswami. 

Goswami was coming back for her second spell after a miserly first, in which she gave away just 12 runs in five overs. By this time, Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad had done enough damage to reduce Pakistan to 67 for three in 21 overs. But Sidra Amin had got her eye in, and Dar had just joined her. And all it took the lanky pacer to deliver another wicket was just two deliveries. 

The first was a full delivery, which Amin drove to the point fielder, the second, however, was on the corridor of uncertainty and the Pakistan opener pushed at it only to edge it to Richa Ghosh behind the stumps. As the score crossed the 70-run mark, once again, the onus was on Dar and Riaz.

But they were going against a pumped-up Goswami, who had just found the most effective length on this wicket. In the first ball of her next over, Dar fell exactly the same way Amin did and Pakistan had lost half their side. 

With Ghosh stumping Riaz a few over later, the chase was all but over. Gayakwad ran through the rest of the batting order, finishing with four wickets for 31 runs in her ten overs. Pakistan were bundled out for 137 in 43 overs, falling short by 107 runs.

Earlier, opting to bat first, India lost Shafali Verma early, but Deepti Sharma and Smriti Mandhana steadied the innings after taking some time to settle in the power play. Once the field was spread out, they were happy to pick up singles and doubles and an occasional boundary, with the pitch being a used one and the outfield on the slower side.

Soon after Mandhana brought up her half-century, Deepti, who had been trying to hoick/swat/sweep almost every bowler through leg-side, tried to do the same against Anam Amin, but went a bit too far across the off-stump and missed the delivery to get bowled for a 57-ball 40.

In the next two overs, hardly any runs were scored with Mithali getting her eye in. At the other end, Mandhana chipped one back to Amin. Meanwhile, Dar was on a roll as she deceived Harmanpreet Kaur through the air and trapped her on the pads. Richa Ghosh played one on to the stumps, and Mithali, too, did not last long.

India had slumped to 114 for six in a World Cup game against Pakistan, something they have been familiar with, in 2017. If it was Sushma Verma back then, this time Sneh Rana and Pooja Vastrakar took things in their hands as they plummeted the spinners all around the park. 

Together, they added 122 runs in 16 overs as they both reached their respective half-centuries. Vastrakar got out in the last over, but India had recovered well to finish with 244 for seven in 50 overs.   

Brief scores: India 244/7 in 50 ovs (Vastrakar 67, Rana 53; Sandhu 2/36) bt Pakistan 137 all out in 43 ovs (Amin 30; Gayakwad 4/31)


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