Pakistan opened their T20 World Cup campaign with a comprehensive win against a sloppy West Indies at Manuka Oval in Canberra, only their second win over the opponents in the format. Diana Baig and Nida Dar did the job first up, rattling the West Indies' line-up to restrict them to 124 for 7. It was then chased down with ten balls to spare as Javeria Khan and Bismah Maroof hits 30s.
Pakistan got off to a flying start in their chase with Javeria and Muneeba Ali knocking off nearly half the runs within the first eight overs. But a couple of quick wickets and a slowdown in the middle made it seem like we were in for a close finish, but captain Bismah and Nida, with the help of some poor West Indies fielding, took Pakistan over the line with enough to spare. The win also means that four out of the five teams in Group B are now tied at two points with one win each.
Slow and steady wins the day for Pakistan
Openers Javeria Khan and Muneeba Ali made 48 in the powerplay, scoring at eight an over at that stage, and it looked like it would be a quick and easy finish. Stafanie Taylor introduced herself in the eighth over and immediately made an impact, striking Javeria, who was attempting a sweep, on the pads. The wicket led to Pakistan slowing down a bit, with Bismah and Muneeba avoiding any risky shots and taking to a more cautious approach, but not quite hitting the panic button.
Muneeba's wicket saw Nida joining Bismah at the crease, and the two seamlessly rotated the strike from then on, finding boundaries occasionally as they kept a watch on the asking rate. From needing a run a ball at the end of 14 overs, they brought down the equation to six runs needed off three overs, bringing West Indies' hopes to a halt. The 18th over, which saw a dropped catch off Nida at the boundary and a missed run-out chance, further underscored West Indies' woeful day on the field. Bismah ensured the opponents did not get any more of those chances, hitting a boundary in the second ball of the 19th over and sealing it for Pakistan.
Diana, Nida keep West Indies quiet
It was a start to forget for West Indies after they opted to bat first. Hayley Matthews was given lbw first ball and didn't review before the DRS timer expired, and it was later confirmed that the ball indeed was pitching outside leg. Her opening partner, Lee Ann Kirby was able to find the gaps a few times in the next three overs but then hit one straight to cover point in the first ball of the fourth over to give Diana her second wicket. Their powerplay score read 28 for 2, and Deandra Dottin's entry would not turn it much for them as she departing for 1 after giving away a simple catch off Nida to Iram Javed at long-on.
It was captain Taylor and Shemaine Campbelle who ensured West Indies avoided a below-par total, but the rest of the line-up collapsed around them to a disciplined Pakistan bowling performance.
But Pakistan, too, had a few lapses in the field - Aiman Anwer dropped Kirby and a missed run-out chance let Taylor off when she was on 23.
Taylor, Campbelle the only bright spots
With little to no help from the rest of the batters, Taylor and Campbelle took on the task of putting up a decent total on board after a dim start. The two were cautious most of the time in the middle, even avoiding using their feet against Bismah's slow-tossed legbreaks.
The first big hit of the match came in the 15th over with Campbelle charged down the track to hit Nida over midwicket, and she would go on to hit another six and a four in the next over off Diana. But in the next over, she fell for a 36-ball 43, lbw to Anam Amin trying a reverse sweep. Taylor smote two sixes in the next few overs before holing out on a 47-ball 43. They were the only bright spots on the day when everything seemed to be going wrong for West Indies.