Pakistan win twice to go top
Pakistan put themselves on top of the points table of the women's RSA Twenty20 Cup, winning both their games against Nottinghamshire and Ireland in Dublin. The hosts salvaged a win, beating Nottinghamshire by five wickets to take second spot at the end of the first day of the competition.
Nottinghamshire had started off soundly against Pakistan in the first game, with the openers adding 26. But they lost their way soon after, as nine wickets fell for 67. The spinners proved Nottinghamshire's undoing as Javeria Khan, Sana Mir and Urooj Mumtaz, the captain, took two wickets each to limit the opposition to a disappointing 96 for 9. However, it wasn't smooth sailing for Pakistan, as at 7 for 3, it seemed an upset was on the cards. But opener Nazia Sadiq steadied the innings with a 37-ball 40, and Mumtaz - in an allround performance - supported her well with an unbeaten 23 to take Pakistan to a five-wicket win in the 18th over.
Ireland, too, met with the same fate in the next match, as they capitulated to spin to be finish up on 86 for 9 against Pakistan. Mir led the bowling, taking 4 for 13, and Mumtaz backed her up with figures of 2 for 14. Only Clare Shillington (29) and Eimear Richardson (23) offered some resistance, but their contributions proved inadequate. Still, Ireland fought hard with the ball, reducing Pakistan to 44 for 5, and giving themselves a shot at an unlikely win. But the middle order chipped in with useful cameos - Mumtaz made 14, Mir 14 and Javeria Khan, an unbeaten 16 - to see them home. The eighth-wicket pair of Javeria and Asmavia Iqbal added 26 to seal a three-wicket win with more than two overs to spare.
Nottinghamshire struggled with the bat again on a day of low-scoring games, posting 111 for 8 against Ireland. Their innings was shepherded by a 24-ball 31 by their captain Amanda Bacon, but wickets fell frequently with Jill Whelan and Isobel Joyce taking five wickets between them. In their reply, openers Shillington and Isobel got off to a good start, adding 37, before Isobel's twin Cecilia Joyce made a valuable 26. Ireland then stuttered, losing three wickets with the score on 90. But Melissa Scott-Hayward and Amy Kenealy knocked off the remaining runs, registering a five-wicket win for Ireland with two balls to spare.
The next round of matches take place on May 29.