Bismah Maroof. © Sri Lanka cricket

Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the opening match of the T20 series at Colombo in Sri Lanka, which was a close encounter that lasted till the last over. Earlier, the visiting team had won the toss and chosen to field first.

The opening batswomen Anushka Sanjeewani led a lone fight, and scored a valiant knock of 61 to get the hosts to a moderate total of 129 runs. She scored half the total score on board and smashed 11 fours during the course of the match. Nilakshi De Silva was another player who scored a quick-fire 35 down the order. Nilakshi and Anushka put on a record partnership of  84-runs for Sri Lanka to get past the 100-run mark when the team was five down for 38 runs and saved the team from an embarrassment. Sri Lanka’s poor form with the bat continued in the shortest format, as the Pakistani bowlers ousted them, with veteran Sana Mir and Diana Baig picking 2 scalps each.

It was a below-par score for the in-form Pakistani team to chase, but Pakistan were in a fix when the openers were ousted by the Lankan spinners in 4 overs. However, the middle-order pair of Captain Bismah Maroof and Javeria Khan led Pakistan’s attack and chased down the total with ease. Soon after the record 50, which is the fastest 50 by the Pakistan women in T20’s, both these set batters got out.

But again Pakistan was put under pressure, as they were just short of the winning runs, due to tight bowling lines by the Sri Lankan bowlers, as the lower order batting line-up collapsed. Pakistan were required to score 4 runs with only 2 wickets remaining off the last over; In the first three balls, Pakistan could only hit 1 run and miscommunication cost a wicket, after which Ghulam Fatima took over the match and turned the tide in Pakistan’s favor, as she hit the winning runs. The last over conceded 7 runs and the pick of the bowlers was Sugandika Kumari who picked 3 wickets in the match.

Pakistan won the match by 1 wicket, with the next T20 match scheduled to be played on 30th of March.