Jhulan Goswami's all-round effort went in vain, with Nida Rashid's triple-strike giving Pakistan a thrilling win
Pakistan snatched a thrilling one run win over India in Galle.
It wasn't a contest billed as the mother of all battles, nor was it one with too much fanfare and build-up. But despite all that, it was still an India-Pakistan clash, and reason enough for both sides to try their best. At the end of it all, Pakistan’s women did what the men could not, beating India by a run in Galle on Monday (October 1).
Chasing 99, India ended on 97 for 8 from its 20 overs. It was its third loss in as many matches in the tournament. Pakistan was on the receiving end till about five overs into India's chase, but the turnaround was scripted by Nida Rashid, the off-spinner, whose triple strike saw off India's middle order and induced panic in the ranks.
India, which was cruising along at 44 for one in the tenth over, suddenly lost three wickets in two overs, with both Mithali Raj (16) and Harmanpreet Kaur (5) back in the pavilion. Reema Malhotra tried to hit her way out of trouble and was bowled by Sana Mir, Pakistan’s captain, for just 7.
Jhulan Goswami was the only batter who seemed capable of striking the big blows needed towards the end. But, Bisma Maroof dismissed Goswami (21) and Amita Sharma (7) in the same over to leave India with 14 to get off the final one. But Mir held her nerve and India managed only 12 as Pakistan squeezed home by the narrowest of margins.
Rashid was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with figures of 3 for 12 in four overs. She exhibited tremendous control and wasn't afraid to flight the ball even to the experienced Indian batters.
Earlier, India looked sharp and disciplined as it restricted Pakistan to 98 for 9. Mir, who opened the batting, top-scored with 26. Although cautious initially, she was in fine nick and looked for a big score before she was sent back by Rasanara Parwin, the debutant, in the tenth over.
A lot was expected from Nain Abidi, Pakistan's most prolific run-scorer on the recent tour of Ireland. While she appeared well set, the Indian spinners did well to build pressure from the other end. With the run-rate languishing around four, Abidi had to go after the bowling and she was eventually out to Goswami for 25. Goswami was India's best bowler, with figures of two for 16 from four overs.
Maroof and Javeria Khan failed and the lower middle order was exposed to the Indian spinners – Anuja Patil and Parwin – who had combined figures of four for 31 from six overs.
Pakistan started the tournament ranked below India, but after a determined defence of a small target, it was they that walked away from the competition with heads high. For India, semi-finalists in 2009 and 2010, there was no consolation.