Women’s T20 World Cup: Rodrigues, Ghosh star in India win

Youngsters Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh show mental toughness in triumph over fighting Pakistan

NEW DELHI | Updated: 13 February, 2023 12:29 am IST
Jemimah Rodrigues (left) and Richa Ghosh starred with the bat (Photo Courtesy @BCCIWomen)

Forty-one needed off 24 balls! It was a moment that Pakistan’s women’s cricket team can only dream of. It was a moment that the Indian women’s cricket team will find hard to dream of – especially when playing against their neighbours.

But it was the moment that became real on February 1, when Indian women faced their Pakistani counterparts in their opening match of the Women’s T20 World Cup in Cape Town.

An inspired Pakistan had their more fancied rivals on the mat. With one of India’s key players, Smriti Mandhana, missing due to injury and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, the seasoned star, back in the hut, India’s fate hinged on two youngsters – one a 22-year-old ‘veteran’ who made a name for being the livewire and the other a 19-year-old U-19 World Cup winner known for her big hits.

Jemimah Rodrigues, who seems to have been with the team since eternity after her debut as a teenager in 2018, showed the maturity that is expected of her but has been missing of late.

Ghosh made her name as the gum-chewing, big-hitting wicketkeeper batter. But the confidence of a recently christened World Cup winner was all there to see as the 19-year-old turned the game on its head in the 18th over with three consecutive fours off medium pacer Aiman Anwer.

The run rate was suddenly down to 14 off 12 balls. And Rodrigues added the finishing touch in the next over, skimming 13, out of 15, runs from youngster Fatima Sana that scripted a famous win.

The contrast, however, was unmissable as Rodrigues appeared to have rediscovered her timing in time with a flurry of pull and sweep shots to bring up her half-century – and score the winning runs.

If Rodrigues thrives in her resurgence, Pakistan’s growing confidence, with the anticipation of a memorable win, gave way to nerves as they let their rivals slip through them with fielders fumbling and bowlers losing their length – the combination of which led to India scoring eight boundaries in the final three overs of their innings to slam the door on their rivals.

Earlier, Pakistan’s decision to bat first almost backfired as they found themselves tottering at 68 for four in the 13th over. But skipper Bismah Mahroof (68*, 55b, 7×4) and Ayesha Naseem (43*, 25b, 2×4, 2×6) added 81 runs for the unconquered fifth wicket to help Pakistan post 149/4 in 20 overs.

Radha Yadav (3rd left) picked two wickets for India (Photo Courtesy @BCCIWomen)

 

For India, left-arm spinner Radha Yadav picked up two wickets, while offie Deepti Sharma and medium pacer Pooja Vastrakar added a wicket each.

India too did not have a great start as they lost Yastika Bhatia (17, 20b, 2×4), Shafali Verma (33, 25b, 4×4) and Kaur (16, 12b, 2×4) to find themselves struggling at 93 for three in the 14th over.

But Rodrigues (53*, 38b, 8×4) and Ghosh (31*, 20b, 5×4) came to the party to ensure India’s dominance over their neighbours continued.

BRIEF SCORE Pakistan 149/4 (Bismah Maroof 68*, Ayesha Naseem 43*; Radha Yadav 2/21) lost to India 151/3 (Jemimah Rodrigues 53*, Shafali Verma 33, Richa Ghosh 31*; Nashra Sandhu 2/15) by seven wickets

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