Australia continue their dominant run even as Bismah Maroof knock goes in vain

Shajin Mohanan S
08 Mar 2022
Australia continue their dominant run even as Bismah Maroof knock goes in vain

Australia © Getty Images

It looked like the world order has been turned on its head for a bit in the tournament with West Indies getting the better of New Zealand and Pakistan and England giving  a scare to their arch-rivals. Australia put all those things to rest with a dominant performance over Pakistan at the Bay Oval in Tauranga on Tuesday (March 8). After the spinners helped them restrict Pakistan to a moderate score, Alyssa Healy led the rampage with a 72-run knock and the other batters also made some handy contributions. Bismah Maroof's gritty innings of 78 not out went in vain as her side failed to challenge the number one side on the field.

Familiar top order troubles

Although Pakistan had two boundaries in the second over bowled by Ellyse Perry, their power play struggles from the India game continued with Nahida Khan and Sidra Ameen getting out by the fourth over. Khan poked at one outside off-stump and was caught by Beth Mooney off Megan Schutt and Ameen became the victim of a good outswinger from Perry.

Omaima Sohail started promisingly with a couple of fours before Alana King got one through her defence in her first over. Nida Dar didn’t last long either as Amanda-Jade Wellington celebrated her return to international cricket with the wicket of the allrounder.

Been there, seen that

From 44 for four, Aliya Riaz once again led the recovery as she often has in recent times for Pakistan. This time she had the company of Maroof, playing her second international game after her return from a maternity break. But they did take their time, with King and Wellington bowling in tandem. Only 34 runs came from the next 13 overs and at the end of the 26th over, Pakistan were on 78 for four.

In the next over, Riaz took on Jess Jonassen on her return to the attack and cut the left-arm spinner for a boundary. After a streaky four off Schutt, Maroof also found her bearings when she lofted Jonassen to the mid-wicket boundary.

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Spinners strangle Pakistan

From the 33rd over, Jonassen and Wellington bowled in tandem in a ten-over phase, with King bowling one over in between. Only 30 runs came from this period despite the set batters wanting to take on the Australia bowlers.

Riaz struggled to up the ante even as Maroof brought up her 15th fifty in the format with a boundary off Wellington in the 41st over. The southpaw reached the milestone from 96 balls and did a cradle celebration, dedicating it to her daughter.

Record partnership and final bang

Riaz and Maroof added 99 runs for the fifth wicket, which was the highest stand for Pakistan in World Cup for any wicket – highlighting the struggles they had in the history of the competition. Just as it looked like Riaz will tee off after her reaching fifty with a four off Schutt, she was trapped in front by Nicola Carey.

However, Maroof opened up with the help of Fatima Sana and Diana Baig, adding 41 runs in the last five overs. 14 runs came in the 47th over bowled by Carey before Baig and Maroof hit two boundaries in the last three balls to help Pakistan finish on 190 for six from the stipulated 50 overs.

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Undisciplined bowling, fielding lapses

Baig struggled with her lines and also pitched short at times, allowing the Australia openers to take advantage of the width. The right-arm pacer was taken for three boundaries in her third over by Rachael Haynes.

With 32 runs already on the board, Pakistan didn’t help themselves when Riaz dropped Healy at mid-wicket off Anam Amin. In the next over, Haynes had two reprieves with wicket-keeper Sidra Nawaz and bowler Dar floundering in the field.

Healy took on Amin in the eighth over, while Haynes got the better off Dar with two boundaries through the leg-side. Australia were 59 – the highest power play score so far in the tournament – for no loss at the end of ten overs.

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Breakthrough and normal service resumes

Left-arm spinner Nashra Sundhu was finally introduced to the attack and she had Haynes caught by Maroof for a run-a-ball 34. Pakistan did manage to restrict Lannning, with the Australia skipper scoring only three runs from the first 20 deliveries she faced.

However, Lanning finally broke the stalemate with a couple of fours off Sana and then repeated the feat against Sundhu as well as Australia sped past the 100-run mark. Healy got to her fifty from just 55 balls with a single off Baig.

Twin strikes from Omaima Sohail

The best moment for Pakistan on the field came in the form of Lanning’s wicket. The right-hander went to cut, but was cramped for room by Sohail with a ball that turned into her. She chopped it on to the stumps to be dismissed for 35.

Sohail struck again to get the big wicket of Healy, but not before the wicketkeeper-batter slammed a 79-ball 72.

Final rites

Mooney and Perry hit a few boundaries to take Australia home with more than 15 overs to spare. The southpaw hit the winning run with a four through the off-side off Dar. Australia now have four points from two matches, while Pakistan are yet to a win a game in the tournament.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 190/6 in 50 overs (Bismah Maroof 78, Aliya Riaz 53; Alana King 2/24) lost to Australia 193/3 in  34.4 overs (Alyssa Healy 72, Meg Lanning 35; Omaima Sohail 2/39 ) by seven wickets POTM: Alyssa Healy

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