Bowlers from either side hold sway as teams put up unconvincing performances
Pakistan warmed up for the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 with a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a low-scoring game at the Nondescripts Cricket Club in Colombo.
After a brief delay to the start owing to a wet outfield, Pakistan opted to bowl and Asmavia Iqbal, the new ball bowler, vindicated captain Sana Mir's decision almost immediately as her triple strike jolted Sri Lanka, reducing it to 9 for 3 in the fourth over.
Shashikala Siriwardene tried to rebuild the innings, but was left to fight the battle on her own as she ran out of partners. She top-scored with a solid 38 off 52 balls with two fours and a six, but that did not help Sri Lanka's cause as only one other batsman – Sripali Weerakkody, who came in at No. 10 – crossed double figures. Sri Lanka’s innings ended on 77 for 8 in 20 overs.
Iqbal, the fast bowler, inflicted most damage to end with figures of four for 11, while Sadia Yousuf, the left-arm spinner, had two wickets.
The reply was far from convincing by Pakistan. It lost Qanita Jalil in the second over. However, Mir came out all guns blazing and stroked her way to 18 off just 24 balls, before her opposite number snapped her up in the seventh over.
Bismah Maroof, who came in at No. 3, was dismissed off the very next over as Pakistan found itself in a spot of bother at 28 for three. Sensing an opportunity, Sri Lanka attacked and got the required rate close to the six-per-over mark. Nain Abidi held fort with a solid 13 off 30 balls, while Nida Dar chipped in with a crucial 10 off 9 balls to help Pakistan inch closer to the target.
Pakistan still had 24 runs to get when Dar became the fifth wicket to fall, but Iqbal could do no wrong on the day, as she blasted three crucial boundaries to end 13 not out, and help her team cross the line with 16 balls to spare.
For Sri Lanka, Siriwardene and Inoka Ranaweera picked up two wickets apiece.
Sri Lanka takes on South Africa in the tournament opener on 26 September, while Pakistan opens its campaign against England the following day.