Pakistan captain said the team was looking forward to the game against India for a long time and victory was extremely satisfying
Pakistan registered its first ever win at the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012, beating India by one run in its final group game in Galle on Monday (October 1).
The match may have been insignificant in terms of qualifying for the semi-finals, but Sana Mir, the Pakistan captain, felt the win would boost the image of women's cricket in the country.
"It is extremely satisfying that we've finally managed to break the jinx and beat India at an ICC event," said Mir. "This is our first ever win in the World Twenty20. It is a delightful feeling, and I believe this win is one of the high points in our careers. It will be a good advertisement for the sport back in Pakistan."
Mir had earlier led Pakistan to the gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou in China, and she said the win today proved that the 2010 triumph wasn’t a fluke.
"A lot of critics back home felt we won the gold medal because India didn't take part, which is why this game was very important for us,” said Mir. “We've been looking ahead to this game for a long time now and I thought the girls showed tremendous character."
Pakistan came into the game as the underdog, but Mir felt playing fearless cricket helped it win. She credited her bowlers for defending a below-par total on a good batting pitch.
"One of the reasons we batted was because the bowlers have been doing well and we've defended modest targets," she said. "On our tour to West Indies earlier this year, we defended 65. We also forced a game into a Super Over defending 75, so the bowlers were really confident."
At the forefront of the victory was Nida Rashid, the off-spinner, who said it was a dream come true to perform on the big stage. Rashid picked up crucial wickets to break into India's lower middle-order which panicked under pressure.
"I've been working really hard. I wanted to do really well, especially against India. All the bowlers supported me well," she said. "I wanted to become the woman of the match, and I think this is my best performance till date."
Mithali Raj, the Indian captain, was not happy with the batting collapse that saw India crumble against spin, supposedly its forte. "I don't know what to say really," said Raj. "I do realise how important my wicket was, but with that comes a lot of pressure on me."
The one-run loss means India returns home winless in the tournament. However, the abject surrender in each of its three games has been a cause of concern. "I think this is a turning point in women's cricket in India. We have a lot of things to rectify if we're to scale high again," said Raj.
Raj was also scathing in her assessment of how the experienced players in the Indian squad had performed.
"Do you think I'm satisfied with the performance of the senior players?" she asked. "At this level you can't keep instructing each player. They need to assess their game and introspect."
She emphasised that the team needed to move on and that players needed to be mentally tougher.
"We can't sulk. We've to build towards the 50-over World Cup next year," she said. "Most importantly, a lot of our players need to become mentally tough. Just having skills won't suffice at the international level."