India delivered a comprehensive 95-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan at Derby on June 2. Coming into this match, Pakistan and India had completely divergent World Cup campaigns: Pakistan had lost both of its first two matches (against South Africa and England), and India had won both (against England and West Indies). Prior to this match, India enjoyed the statistical advantage over Pakistan as well – India have won all nine of its ODIs against Pakistan. With the odds staked up against Pakistan, their bowling effort was a quite a revelation. After conceding 377 runs against England in their last game, it was a great effort to restrict India to 169, India’s lowest ever total against Pakistan. Pakistan consistently took wickets, used the DRS astutely and employed the youthful energy of players like Diana Baig (along with some agile catching by the veteran Sana Mir to dismiss Harmanpreet Kaur) for a clinical on-field effort. Pakistan was able to take the crucial wickets of Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj early on, and Nashra Sandhu clocked in 4 wickets for 26 runs.
The less said about Pakistan’s batting effort, the better. It appears as if the Pakistan team managed to catch the highlights reel of the South Africa versus West Indies (West Indies were all out for 48) match, happening concurrently, during the innings break and were deeply inspired by the effort. The Indian team delivered a flawless bowling performance, pitching the ball in the right places and forcing the Pakistani batters to make mistakes. It was telling that the first four wickets were LBWs. Nahida Khan was the only top order batter to get to double digits (23 runs off 62 balls) before edging a ball to the keeper off Kaur. The captain, Sana Mir, stuck it out till the end with a fighting 29 runs off 73 deliveries, but she only managed to steer Pakistan to a final total of 74 and Pakistan only managed to bat 38.1 overs before being bowled out. This probably spells trouble for Pakistan’s bid for the World Cup, but India are soaring ahead with three consecutive triumphs.
India vs Pakistan ICC Women's World Cup 2017 Full Match Highlights
While Punam Raut’s opening 47-run knock was the highest score of the match, it was Sushma Verma’s 33 off 35 that made India’s total a competitive one. In a low scoring match and coming in at number seven when India were 107 for 5 at the 34 over mark, Verma maintained a strike-rate of 94.28 and ensured that her team had crossed the 150-run mark by the time she lost her wicket to Baig.
Verma's first boundary
Verma's second boundary
The pick of bowlers has to be the left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht and her five-wicket haul. Bisht took 3 out of the first 4 wickets, and by the time she was through with her first spell, the writing was on the wall for Pakistan. Her 5-for while conceding only 18 runs in 10 overs was a definitive and match winning performance.