Bangladesh v Pakistan, Women's World T20, Group B, Delhi March 24, 2016

We are not afraid of any team - Sana Mir

Play 01:42
'I can't ask for more from the girls' - Sana Mir

Sana Mir received a thunderous applause as she walked in to the post-match press conference after her side beat Bangladesh Women in Delhi. She first allowed Sidra Ameen, who crafted a match-winning unbeaten 53, to soak in the applause and take her seat, before she followed. The big grin on Mir's face told you a story of a captain, who in her last assignment at the helm, was close to achieving an important milestone in Pakistan women's cricket history. The nine-wicket win over Bangladesh keeps Pakistan Women in contention for a place in the semi-finals of the World T20.

Ameen, however, seemed more overawed facing questions, than she did while batting at the crease, especially unfurling those fierce cut shots to raze down a potentially tricky target of 114. "My captain has backed me, she showed faith in me," she said, before breaking into a sheepish smile. "Momentum" and "confidence" were the buzzwords, her excitement clearly knowing no bounds, after her first half-century in international cricket.

Until the 2012 Women's World T20, Pakistan hadn't won a single match in the tournament. Four years later, there scales have turned, and how. With wins over India and Bangladesh, their confidence and net run-rate, too, has taken received a massive fillip. Previous Pakistan teams would have looked at an upcoming clash against England Women as another step towards improving against a top side, but not this team.

"We are not afraid of any team," Mir declared authoritatively. "We have shown how much we have improved as a side. Cricket is played out on the field and not on paper. So we don't believe they are favourites. The way we have played as a team in this tournament, I would say we have an equal chance. A lot of people would have written us off, but it doesn't matter who we are playing. That is the positive attitude we will take into the next game."

Mir wasn't being over-confident. The brutal honesty has stemmed from the performance of her bowling group that has adapted itself superbly. Anam Amin, the left-arm spinner may have well won her third successive Player-of-the-Match award for a haul of 2 for 12, had it not been for the ease with which Ameen began a potentially tricky chase on a pitch that slowed down as the evening progressed.

"Our bowling has been outstanding throughout the tournament, credit to Anam Amin and Asmavia Iqbal," Mir said. "To restrict West Indies to a little over 100 and India to below that was a special effort. That has injected tremendous confidence. Also, our openers didn't start well in the first game, but there has been remarkable improvement in the next two games. The momentum is with us going into the game against England. We could have had a better result in one game (they lost to West Indies by four runs), but can't ask for more from the girls."

Mir did not miss another opportunity to acknowledge the support of a festive Holi crowd. The official attendance was pegged at 1026. "Pakistan jeetega" [Pakistan will win] chants were ringing loud as their flag fluttered. "It is wonderful to be in a country where people are chanting for you, it's welcoming," Mir said. We are enjoying the support. Hopefully we can continue to impress them with the way we play."

And what about the reception from back home? "Oh, the kind of support we have got from back home this time, I don't think we've ever got that," she smiled. "The kind of messages we have received from back home has been extremely encouraging. We just want to continue this going forward. The girls are enjoying this. But our prayers are with the men's team as well. I hope they also give the fans reasons to smile."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gojali76 on March 26, 2016, 14:02 GMT

    why sana is playing Dina baig the talented fast bowler, she should get chance to play. she got 8wickets in 4hours in domestic match. why she is the 12th women in the team for last 2years. Sana is to keep first the country in front not her friends.

  • Puffin on March 25, 2016, 19:32 GMT

    Looks to me that England keep coming close to fluffing their run chases, particularly if the wickets start tumbling. So, Pakistan need to win the toss and bat first, then put the pressure on. I really don't think Pakistan need to fear England.

  • Romeo-uk on March 25, 2016, 14:44 GMT

    I was completely overawed by the superb and stupendous performance of the girls in green. They played very freely, positively and as a team as a unit. Their confidence was par excellence. No grouping no rivalry among them and everyone played their due part for this big win. Captaincy of Sana Mir's was exceptional and a great team leader. Hope the boys in green will learn to obey and respect from the girls in green. Hats off to Sana and his team, wish you all the best for the remaining matches in T-20 world cup. You made your country proud. Keep it up and best of luck.

  • MuhammadRoman on March 25, 2016, 9:50 GMT

    Proud of Sana Mir and her team. She has been great over the years. Carry on captain

  • Desihungama on March 25, 2016, 5:13 GMT

    Wow. Amazing confidence exuded by this Pakistan captain. The way she speaks, conduct team affairs and carries herself on and off the field is reminiscent of Imran Khan.

  • Safa Baig on March 24, 2016, 21:11 GMT

    The optimism and confidence shown by the whole team is genuinely heartwarming.

  • st_aubrun on March 24, 2016, 19:53 GMT

    Pakistan women have beaten England women before - in a T20I at Loughborough on July 5, 2013. And Pakistan are a far superior side now with an amazing team-vibe and body language. They have every chance of beating England to make it to the semis!

  • easyboy on March 24, 2016, 19:14 GMT

    Well done ladies hope you will make semi final

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