Cricket Sport

Javeria Khan’s 74* keeps Pakistan alive

Pakistan 139 for 6 (Javeria 74*, O’Reilly 3-19) beat Ireland 101 for 9 (Isobel Joyce 30, Shillington 27, Sandhu 2-8, Riaz 2-16) by 38 runs

Javeria Khan’s 74* keeps Pakistan alive
Nahida Khan congratulates Javeria Khan on her fifty ICC/Getty

Ireland were exactly in the contest for eight overs after losing the toss. Then, they saw it sensationally slip. As is the case most times, a missed opportunity proved costly. Pakistan didn’t look back from there, blasting 110 off their last 12 overs to finish with a competitive 139. This was 38 too many for Ireland. The win kept Pakistan just about breathing in the competition after two heavy losses to Australia and India.

The beneficiary of the missed opportunity was Javeria Khan, the Pakistan captain. On nine at the start of the ninth over after Pakistan had limped to 29 for 1, she should’ve been caught at long-on, but Clare Shillington was five yards inside the ropes. When she finally backpedaled, it was too late. Celeste Raack, the Australia-born legspinner, was denied a wicket in her very first over. To add to Ireland’s woes, Javeria went on to make 74 not out, the highest individual score by a Pakistani woman in a T20I, to shift momentum Pakistan’s way at the halfway mark.

Ireland’s chase never took off, and they were expertly tied into knots by Nashra Sandhu, the left-arm spinner. Left out for the game against India, 20-year old returned to finish with 4-0-8-2, the most economical figures for Pakistan women in a T20I, to stifle Ireland in the Powerplay. As it turned out, they never quite had the muscle in the middle overs to pinch boundaries to keep chipping away at the runs, choosing to play ugly across-the-line swipes to either be bowled or lbw. Isobel Joyce’s 30 added the only touch of respectability for Ireland in what was a one-sided fare.

The effort of the game clearly came from Javeria, who brought a sputtering innings to life with her industry. When long-off was wide, she hit straight. When mid-off was in, she went over the top. When there were two point fielders, she opened the bat face to carve it into the gap. When the bowlers drifted the ball in, she made room to get inside the line and play inside-out to chip. If the bowlers bowled short, she walked across to sweep.

It was an exhibition of batting right out of the top drawer. She raised her half-century off 41 deliveries, and with the landmark out of the way, put her head down to bat right through the innings without compromising on her strike rate. Her three successive boundaries in the 18th over off Raack displayed her full range.

Ireland’s chase never took off, but they also weren’t helped by poor umpiring. Gaby Lewis, the first to fall, should’ve survived a stumping as wicketkeeper Sidra Nawaz gathered the ball in front of the stumps. But the decision went in favour of Pakistan to trigger the collapse. On the face of an escalated asking rate, only Shillington managed to strike the ball clean and pinch runs to briefly give Pakistan the flutter. Once she fell in the sixth over, Ireland slid down alarmingly. Barring two double-digit scores from the top three, the rest caved in meekly.

Source : ESPN Cricinfo

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