SYLHET: Brilliant all-round display from Nida Dar helped Pakistan triumph by 13 runs in a nail-biting encounter against arch-rivals India at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday in the Asia Cup encounter.
Nashra Sandhu picked up three wickets for 30 runs while Nida Dar and Sadia Iqbal also chipped in with two wickets a piece. Richa Ghosh top-scored for India as she played a quick-fire inning of 26 from 13 deliveries.
India were off to a poor start in reply to Pakistan's total of 137 as the team lost two wickets in the powerplay and the batters failed to make use of the fielding restrictions.
Smriti Mandhana and Sabbhineni Meghana opened the innings for India as the women in blue looked to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Meghana made her intentions clear from the beginning as she smashed Nida Dar for a six in the second over of the inning smashing her down the ground after advancing down the track. She also hit a boundary in the next over making use of the powerplay.
However, she lost her wicket to Nashra Sandhu as she looked to play an inside-out shot over covers, ending her brief stay quick stay at the crease scoring 15 off 14 balls. Her wicket brought the in-form Jemimah Rodrigues to the crease but she soon perished looking to sweep. She was caught off the bowling of Nida Dar for a score of 2 in the sixth over. India were reduced to 30/2 at the end of the powerplay.
India still looked to be positive as Dayalan Hemalatha and Smriti Mandhana played some eye-catching shots and scored three boundaries in a span of three overs. India's ace opener tried to take the attack to the Pakistani bowlers but was dismissed by Sandhu as she was unable to clear long on after choosing to step down the wicket and play a big shot. She was dismissed for 17 off 19 balls.
India were tottering at 50/3 at the end of 10 overs when Pooja Vastrakar was promoted up the order in a quest for some quick runs. The batter however was run-out for five after the dot ball pressure kept building on the team.
Tuba Hassan ended the stay of Hemlatha in the 13th over as she bowled her out for a score of 20 from 22 deliveries. Her wicket brought the Indian captain to the crease with India in huge trouble. She was joined by Deepti Sharma at the other end as the pair looked to revive the inning.
Deepti Sharma unfurled an array of shots to smash three quick boundaries but could not carry forward as she succumbed to scoreboard pressure after playing a quick inning of 16 runs from 11 deliveries in the 16th over. Harmanpreet did try to up the ante but she too fell in the 17th over almost handing the match to Pakistan.
Richa Ghosh however did not give up and smashed three sixes in the final overs giving a glimmer of hope. But the wicketkeeper-batsman failed to clear the rope in her fourth attempt, holing out to long-on ending India's hope of winning the match. India were then bowled out for 124 with the Pakistani team clinching a 13-run victory.
Earlier, Nida Dar's unbeaten innings of 56 powered Pakistan to a decent total of 137/6 against India at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday in the ongoing Asia Cup clash. Deepti Sharma bowled exceptionally and was the quick of the Indian bowlers as she bagged three wickets giving away just 27 runs.
For Pakistan Nida Dar was the highest scorer while Bismah Maroof also contributed with 32 runs in 35 balls. Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof won the toss and opted to bat first in the match. The team made two changes, leaving out Kainat Imtiaz and Diana Baig for left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal and Aiman Anwer.
Nida Dar was adjudged the Woman of the Match for her fifty in the first inning and two wickets in the second inning.
Brief Score: India (Richa Ghosh 26, Dayalan Hemalatha 20; Nashra Sandhu 3/30) vs Pakistan (Nida Dar 56, Bismah Maroof 32; Deepti Sharma 3/27)