Winning the toss, England chose to bowl on a wicket that was a bit damp and had a fair amount of green tinge. The wicket was so damp that Heather Knight's side had to constantly put sawdust on the landing area for the bowlers. The two English pacers in Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole bowled fuller and made life extremely difficult for the Pakistan batters.
Brunt is back
England's spearhead Brunt provided the best possible start to England as she got rid of Nahida Khan for a duck. She drew Nahida forward with an outswinger which took her outside edge and was safely pouched by skipper Knight at first slip.
Brunt came back in her second spell to peg Pakistan further as she dismissed both Nida Dar and Sidra Ameen. Ameen was holding one end together firmly and hence she was the prized scalp. Brunt bowled much fuller than her previous outings in the tournament and with the wicket providing enough assistance she reaped the rewards of her impeccable line and length.
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Pakistan panicking under pressure
With England bowlers giving no freebies to score, the Pakistan batters tried rotating the strike by taking some risky runs but ended up playing in the hands of England.
Firstly it was Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof who was run out looking for a double that was not there followed by Omaima Sohail who fell short by just a few inches. Sohail was dismissed by an excellent run out effort from Tammy Beaumont. England fielded largely well throughout the game and delivered a much-improved effort in comparison to the previous games.
Sophie Ecclestone showed yet again why she is the number one ranked ODI bowler. Ecclestone picked up from where the English pacers left and made life even more miserable for Pakistan. Knowing that the wicket didn’t have much in it for the spinners, she didn’t give much air to her deliveries. Keeping her trajectory flatter, she varied her pace and was just too good for the Pakistan lower order as they tumbled one after another.
Unable to handle the relentless pressure from the English bowling attack, Pakistan couldn’t even manage to play the 50 overs and eventually got bowled out for 105 runs in 41.3 overs.
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Diana Baig was brilliant with the ball for Pakistan upfront as she bowled a flurry of outswingers and asked plenty of questions to the Engand batters. She trapped Beaumont leg before wicket in the fifth over and provided the early breakthrough that Pakistan required. The delivery that enabled her to dismiss Beaumont was a terrific inswinger and took Beaumont by surprise as she didn’t have any answer to it. She took a leaf out of Brunt’s book and bowled fuller and went past the outside edge of the bat many times.
Despite losing her batting partner early, Wyatt looked unfazed in her approach and took the attack to the Pakistan bowlers. She played some aggressive strokes initially and made full use of the fielding restrictions.
Her aggressive approach helped skipper Knight to buy her time and settle at the crease. Wyatt notched up her first World Cup half-century. If she can continue her momentum with the bat then she can certainly be the answer to England’s opening conundrum. Knight was pretty circumspect in her approach and played second fiddle to Wyatt throughout the run chase. An unbeaten 87-run stand between both ultimately led England to an emphatic nine wicket win.
This win has kept the defending champions in the race to the semis and England need to register a victory against Bangladesh to go through to the knockout stages.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 105/10 41.3 overs (Sidra Amin 32, Sidra Nawaz 23; Katherine Brunt 3/17, Sophie Ecclestone 3/18) lost to England 107/1 in 19.2 overs (Danielle Wyatt 76; Diana Baig 1/14) by nine wickets