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CWG 2022: Bowlers, Mandhana help India thrash Pakistan by eight wickets; reach top of table

After Pakistan were bowled out for 99 in an 18-overs a side match due to rain, opener Smriti Mandhana smashed an unbeaten 63 and played magnificent shots that oozed class and delight in equal measure to chase down the total with 38 balls remaining.

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India’s bowlers, led by off-spinner Sneh Rana (2-15) and left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (2-18), put on an impressive performance to set the stage for an eight-wicket win over Pakistan in their second Group A match at Edgbaston.

After Pakistan were bowled out for 99 in an 18-overs a side match due to rain, opener Smriti Mandhana smashed an unbeaten 63 and played magnificent shots that oozed class and delight in equal measure to chase down the total with 38 balls remaining.

The eight-wicket thrashing of Pakistan, following a three-wicket loss to Australia in the first match, means that India keeps their semi-final hopes alive and is top of the table, with their net run rate increasing from -0.56 to 1.17.

Smriti gave India an attacking start by slog-sweeping Anam Amin for six, then dancing down the pitch to loft over the bowler’s head for four. Smriti’s elegant Sunday continued when she used her crease and feet to hit Diana Baig for three boundaries, with her bisecting backward point and short third man standing out.

Shafali Verma smashed Anam for a brutal six over long-on and ended the over with a loft over wide long-off for four as India continued to deal in boundaries. In the meantime, Smriti stole a four from Anam with a slice over backward point.

Smriti took a thrashing of pacer Fatima Sana, who nailed a pull through mid-wicket for four and brought up India’s fifty in just 29 balls by dancing down the pitch to loft over mid-on.

Tuba Hassan’s first over produced boundaries for Smriti and Shafali. But the leg-spinner had the last laugh when Shafali attempted to slice a faster ball but nicked behind to Muneeba, ending the 62-run opening stand.

Smriti reached her 15th T20I fifty in 31 balls by dancing down the pitch and lofting Tuba for a six straight down the ground. S Meghana, who joined the team late due to Covid-19, batted for 16 balls before being cleaned up by Omaima Sohail. Smriti finished the chase in style, dragging Fatima over long-on for four points and keeping India in contention for the knockouts.

Earlier, despite losing the toss and a rain delay, the Indian bowlers performed admirably. The pacers got the ball to nip around, and then the spinners bowled slow and with some turn to keep things tight and prevent Pakistan from breaking free.

Sneh was the standout bowler, with her double-wicket strike in the ninth over sparking Pakistan’s collapse, in which they lost five wickets in eight balls.

Meghna Singh tested Iram Javed with balls outside off-stump and eventually succeeded in getting her nick behind to wicketkeeper Yastika Bhatia after Renuka Singh began with a maiden in the first over.

Muneeba Ali broke through her shell by slamming Renuka for back-to-back boundaries – a slash over point followed by a hoick through mid-wicket. She then found boundaries against Meghna, hitting a four off the top-edge on pull and a crunched slog over deep mid-wicket.

Her 50-run partnership with captain Bismah Maroof ended when the latter was caught lbw while attempting to sweep off Sneh. Muneeba delivered a simple return catch back to Sneh, who was operating with a round-the-wicket angle for the left-handers.
Renuka took her first wicket of the day when she caught Ayesha Naseem mistiming a slog to running deep mid-wicket with a sharp catch. Omaima was forced to leave due to a misunderstanding in the middle.

Aliya Riaz hit two boundaries to help Pakistan finish strongly. However, Meghna’s direct hit at mid-off caught her a yard short of the crease. Shafali then completed a stunning low return catch to send Fatima back to the pavilion. Radha Yadav then took the last remaining wickets, barring a run-out, to bring Pakistan’s disastrous batting performance to an end.

(Inputs from IANS)