July 11 (Tuesday)
Windies v Pakistan, Leicester
Things have not gone as per script for both Windies and Pakistan at the ICC Women’s World Cup2017. They have played brilliant cricket in patches, but have failed to sustain it for a longer period. As a result, they stand very low on the points table.
Windies opened their account with a 47-run win over Sri Lanka, but Pakistan, with five consecutive losses, are out of the tournament. Things had looked promising for Pakistan when they chased 247 against Windies in a warm-up game at Leicester. The result spiked interest among fans, but it was to be a false dawn. The loss of Bismah Maroof to an injury has not helped their cause, and lack of consistency from all three departments has proved costly.
Pakistan have to put all the past performances aside and produce the best cricket of the tournament on Tuesday because this is their best chance to notch up two points and open the account.
Pakistan’s spinners are disciplined, but they need runs on the board and for that the onus is on the opening pair of Nahida Khan and Ayesha Zafar.
Windies, on the other, hand, would have drawn a lot of confidence in the way they handled the Sri Lankan spinners. Despite losing four wickets without much on the board, they posted 229 for 9 because of Merissa Aguilleira’s unbeaten 46 from No.6 and some sensible hitting from the others who batted around her. After that Anisa Mohammed scalped Chamari Athapaththu, Dilani Manodara and Shashikala Siriwardene to derail Sri Lanka’s chase.
Windies though would want more contribution from their top-order, especially from Haley Mathews and Stafanie Taylor. Both of them have shown glimpses of their abilities with some wonderful strokes through the tournament, but have not gone on to make it count. Mathews needs a big performance to prove that the match-winning knock in the Women’s World Twenty20 final against Australia last year in Kolkata was not a fluke. Taylor, who remains to be the No.1 allrounder in One-Day Internationals, has not scored a century since October 2013.
Her best score since then is an unbeaten 98 against Pakistan at home in October 2015. It was a series where Pakistan won the first game, but then lost three as Windies prevailed 3-1.
What they said:
Stafanie Taylor: “We know how important these games are. We definitely want to win and go home on a high. Pakistan have not won a game, so it is not going to be easy for us. Pakistan are going to come with their spinners. We saw that a bit of that (against Sri Lanka). We should counter their bowlers well. Pakistan has always been a fighting team. All the teams think that West Indies is the team you want to beat, so Pakistan is no different.”
Sana Mir: We have played really good cricket in bits and pieces. It’s important we bring it into one match, and hopefully we can do it tomorrow. I really believe in this team. Sometimes in tournaments like these when you slip off or your form goes bad you take a couple of matches to come back. The batters are looking good in the nets today, hopefully they can deliver tomorrow. It is a new day. Their (Windies) and our team have changed since that (warm-up) game. We are playing on a new wicket tomorrow, and weather in England plays different role. We can’t take things for granted. We have to be smart about it and use the conditions to our advantage.
Player in focus:
Deandra Dottin: A lot has been written about how she is the pioneer of power hitting in women’s cricket, but she has not really produced any match-winning knocks for a long time. She has just four half-centuries in her last 30 innings, and has been dismissed below 20 on 13 occasions. Windies would want her to take more responsibility and bat for longer to show the youngsters how it is done. She found her touch against Sri Lanka with seven powerful fours, but could not build on it.
Ayesha Zafar: Pakistan’s opener was one of the finds during their tour of New Zealand where she scored two half-centuries. That assured her of a place in the team for the Qualifier, and she did well. She started with an unbeaten 56 against England in the second game in the World Cup, but has not taken off since then. A good show against Windies will not only allow Pakistan a chance for a World Cup win, but will also go a long way in setting herself up for a consistent run with the team.
Windies: Stafanie Taylor (capt), Merissa Aguilleira (wk), Reniece Boyce, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Felicia Walters, Subrina Munroe, Kycia Knight.
Pakistan: Sana Mir (capt), Ayesha Zafar, Nahida Khan, Marina Iqbal, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Syeda Nain Fatima Abidi, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Kainat Imtiaz, Asmavia Iqbal, Diana Baig, Waheeda Akhtar, Nashra Sandhu, Ghulam Fatima, Sadia Yousuf.