Cricket

India Thrash Pakistan To Enter ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier Final

Colombo, Feb 19 (IANS) India thrashed Pakistan by seven wickets in their ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 Super Six game to enter the final at the P Sara Oval here on Sunday.

Pakistan were dismissed for 67 in 43.4 overs after being asked to bat by India in overcast conditions. India then reached 70/3 in 22.3 overs to win by seven wickets and enter the final.

India will take on South Africa in the title clash here on February 21.

The win made India the only undefeated team in the tournament so far, while the silver lining for Pakistan despite being bowled out for less than 100 for the first time since March 2014 was that they still managed to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup to be held in England in June.

On Sunday, Ekta Bisht’s career-best figures of 8/5 and Veda Krishnamurthy’s two excellent catches at first slip underlined the gap between the two sides in this format.

Shikha Pandey was the first to strike in the seventh over when Nahida Khan cut her straight to Bisht at point.

She struck in her next over again when Javeria Khan, the tournament’s highest run-getter, edged an incoming ball that swung away just enough. Veda anticipated well to take a couple of steps forward and complete a two-handed catch in front of her.

India could have had their third wicket in the Power Play had either Devika Vaidya or Mansi Joshi held on to chances offered by Ayesha Zafar in the space of three balls. But Zafar wasted her luck to be lbw off Bisht’s first ball of the match in the 11th over.

Rested against the Bangladesh Women, Bisht started with an arm ball that Zafar played down the wrong line to, to be the left-arm spinner’s 50th One-Day International (ODI) wicket.

Bisht, only the ninth Indian to achieve the feat, then went past the tally of Purnima Rau, India’s coach, when Nain Abidi stepped down the track to play against the turn. She was left stranded as Sushma Verma completed an easy stumping.

Deepti Sharma’s drift then deceived Bismah Maroof, who got a faint under-edge while playing a sweep, and Vaidya came from around the wicket to have Aliya Riaz bowled.

Then came the catch of the match. A non-committal Sana Mir cut Bisht only for Veda to take a stunning one-handed catch to her left at slip on the second attempt. Veda bolted off to square-leg in celebration even as her teammates chased her to mark the moment.

Rabiya Shah became Bisht’s fourth wicket when Mona Meshram took an easy catch at second slip. Sadia Yousuf and Nashra Sandhu took Pakistan past 57 — their lowest total against India that had come in the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup in Australia — before Bisht changed ends to have Yousuf bowled and become only the seventh Indian to take a five-for in ODIs.

Harmanpreet Kaur, leading the India team in place of Mithali Raj who had stepped out, then brought herself on and needed just four balls to end Pakistan’s resistance. She became the fifth Indian spinner in this tournament to take a wicket.

Of the 60 wickets India have taken in seven matches so far, Bisht, who with 12 scalps is now the tournament’s second-highest wicket-taker, Poonam Yadav, Deepti, Vaidya, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who was rested for this game, and Harmanpreet have taken 42.

Except for a couple of short balls by the pacers that had been dispatched to the boundary early in the piece, India dominated proceedings completely, bowling a total of 18 maiden overs.

Bisht relied on her strength to tie the batters down, and was particularly ruthless in her last five overs where she conceded no runs and picked up three wickets.

Meshram square cut Mir to the fence off the first ball of India’s innings to get the chase going. Meshram and Vaidya fell in the space of 13 runs as India went into lunch at 23/2 in 7.5 overs.

But after the break, Kaur produced the shot of the match when she pulled Sandhu, the left-arm spinner, for a six over midwicket and followed that up with a straight four with a back-foot punch. She was caught at cover for 24 before Deepti, who remained unbeaten on 29, and Veda completed India’s 12th ODI win on the trot.

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