Mithali Raj in action. ©ICC
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Bismah Maroof-Nida Dar’s 94 runs partnership went in vain as Mithali Raj’s half-century led the foundation for India’s comfortable seven-wicket win over Pakistan in their second Group B World T20 match in Guyana on Sunday (November 11).

Put into bat, Pakistan were in trouble early, with Arundhati Reddy having Ayesha Zafar caught at first slip by Veda Krishnamurthy in the first over for a duck. Pakistan soon lost Omaima Sohail in the fourth over through Jemimah Rodrigues’ direct throw at the bowler’s end.

Pakistan were consistently hindered by the India bowlers.  Reduced to 30/3 at the end of the seven overs, as captain Javeria Khan got dismissed by Radha Yadav’s throw to the bowler’s end, the pressure was on the middle-order. Experienced Dar along with Maroof steadied the ship with a partnership of 94 runs for the fifth wicket.

Once they got their eye in, it became difficult for the bowlers to get past them as they played strokes all around the ground. Radha created a dismissal chance but Veda missed the catch at long off and it went for four runs. In the 14th over, once again India lost a chance to dismiss the dangerous Maroof as Poonam Yadav was unable to catch the ball.

Maroof-Dar chose to write  history with their bats. Maroof scored her seventh T20I half-century off 44 balls whereas Dar got another life on the way to her maiden T20I half-century off 34 balls. D Hemalatha struck twice as she picked up dangerous Maroof and Dar in the 19th over. After dropping an easy one, Veda this time made no mistake at mid-wicket. Dar’s blitzy knock came to an end when she hit the ball straight to Harmanpreet Kaur’s hand at cover.

Poonam dismissed Aliya Riaz and Sana Mir in the last over and Pakistan ended up at 133/7 at the end of their allotted overs. Pakistan batters had been warned officially during the innings for running between the protected area of the pitch. But somehow that didn’t work out and in the 18th over, the batters did the same and Pakistan were penalised 5 runs. At the last ball of the innings, the batters repeated the error and 5 more runs were added as India started their innings with 10/0.

Chasing 134, India got off to a flying start. Mithali, who didn’t get the chance to bat in the last match against New Zealand, opened the innings with Smriti Mandhana. With Raj-Mandhana’s quickfire strokes, India scored 48 runs in the powerplay. Just when Mandhana was starting to settle in, she was caught at deep square leg by Sohail.

Rodrigues couldn’t do well and fell for 16 off 21 by giving a straight catch back to the bowler. Mithali reached her 16th T20I half-century by smashing a boundary past mid-wicket. Her innings came to an end in the 18th over when Dar picked up the catch at deep mid-wicket. Harmanpreet and Veda added the rest of the runs and India won their second match of World T20 comfortably with an over to spare.

Mithali was adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ for her half century.