Spinners, Javeria-Aliya combo thrash Zimbabwe; go 1-0 up in the series

Kaushiik Paul
New Update
Spinners, Javeria-Aliya combo thrash Zimbabwe; go 1-0 up in the series

Javeria Khan (L) and Aliya Riaz produced a stunning batting display. © PCB/Twitter

Defending 255, the visitors led by spinners Nida Dar, Nashra Sandhu and Sadia Iqbal dismissed the opposition to 77 in 34.1 overs runs as Zimbabwe never looked like chasing the target. Pacers Diana Baig (1/16) and Fatima Sana (2/16) started off the proceedings with a quick three-wicket burst within the first 10 overs.

Ashley Ndiraya (five) was the first to go caught plumb in front by Baig before Sana accounted for Chiedza Dhururu (eight) and skipper Mary-Anne Musonda (zero). Pakistan skipper Javeria Khan introduced Dar for the first time in the 15th overs, and the off-spinner was on the money straightaway dismissing Modester Mupachikwa.

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With the backbone already broken, the Zimbabwe batters never looked to accelerate as the Dar, Sandhu and Iqbal trio pounced on the opportunity to not let the opposition open their arms. Pellagia Mujaji, who last represented Zimbabwe back in 2017, and Precious Marange tried to provide some resistance but that wasn’t enough to contain the experienced Pakistan bowling attack.

The Zimbabweans frustrated the opposition with their ultra-defensive approach but once Mujaji and Marange were back in the hut, it was a matter of time for Pakistan to pocket the match. Dar was the most economical among Pakistan bowlers finishing with figures 7-3-9-2 while Iqbal had 5-2-8-2. Sandhu picked up 1/16 in her seven overs.

Earlier, the top-order frailties continued for Pakistan. Just like in South Africa, Muneeba Ali could only manage for just four slicing a wideish Nomvelo Sibanda delivery at the hands of Ashley Ndiraya at square-leg.

The Zimbabwean bowlers, who are playing international cricket after 20 long months, didn’t look rusty as head coach Adam Chifo stated, but were more disciplined creating little room for the opposition to open their arms.

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The likes of Sibanda and Josephine Nkomo kept the Pakistani batters content with their tight line and length. Zimbabwe were soon rewarded as Ayesha Zafar, who replaced Nahida Khan at the top of the order, was caught plumb in front Esther Mbofana for a 24-ball 14.

With two wickets down early, the onus was on Javeria and Omaima Sohail. The right-hander Sohail, who was one of the positives against South Africa in the Pakistan middle-order, was unlucky to convert her start into big after falling short of crease at 41-ball 29.

At 82 for 4 within the first 20 overs, Aliya Riaz brought her rescue act once again and along with Javeria at the other end, steadied the ship. The duo started on a slower side initially picking up ones and twos, before opening their arms.

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The Javeria-Riaz combo upped the tempo punishing the loose balls as the Zimbabwean bowlers lost the plot. Javeria even got a reprieve when she edged Nkomo delivery behind but the wicketkeeper’s outstretched hands couldn’t hold onto the ball.

The 157-run fifth-wicket partnership was finally broken when Javeria trying to slog a Mbofana wideish off-side delivery found Ndiraya at deep square-leg. She was dismissed for well-made 81 off 116 balls with eight hits towards the fence.

Sibanda dismissed Riaz off the next ball, missing the line of the ball completely for 74 off 87 balls. For Zimbabwe, Mbofana and Sibanda starred with the ball taking 2/42 and 2/28 respectively.

Brief scores: Pakistan 255/6 in 50 overs (Javeria Khan 81, Aliya Riaz 74; Nomvelo Sibanda 2/28) beat Zimbabwe 77 all out in 34.1 overs (Pellagia Mujaji 16; Nida Dar 2/9, Sadia Iqbal 2/8) by 178 runs. POTM: Javeria Khan.