5th Match, Group A, Birmingham, July 31, 2022, Commonwealth Games Women's Cricket Competition
(18/18 ov) 99
(11.4/18 ov, T:100) 102/2

IND Women won by 8 wickets (with 38 balls remaining)


Bowlers, Mandhana brush Pakistan aside for India's first points

India chase down the target of 100 with 38 balls to spare to improve their net run rate

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
Smriti Mandhana gave India an attacking start, India vs Pakistan, Commonwealth Games, Group A, Birmingham, July 31, 2022

Smriti Mandhana gave India a fast start to the chase  •  Getty Images

India Women 102 for 2 (Mandhana 63*) beat Pakistan Women 99 (Muneeba 32, Rana 2-15, Radha 2-18) by eight wickets
India strengthened their dominance over Pakistan in women's cricket, inflicting a tenth defeat over their neighbours in twelve T20 internationals with an eight-wicket win during their Commonwealth Games clash at Edgbaston on Sunday.
In a game that began 55 minutes late owing to on-and-off drizzle and was reduced to 18 overs per side, Pakistan were bowled out for 99 after they opted to bat. Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma then made short work of the chase with a 61-run opening partnership to help India pick up their first win in the competition.
The victory with 38 balls to spare helped India improve their net run rate to 1.17 from -0.56 after their loss against Australia, while Pakistan's slid to -1.77 from -0.75, inching them ever so close to an early exit.
The gallop to the victory
Chasing 100, Mandhana and Shafali got going against Anam Amin's spin. Mandhana slinked down the track to smash Amin over mid-on for a six before hitting a full toss past mid-on for four. Mandhana then followed up with three fours in Diana Baig's next over.
Shafali hit Amin for a four and a six in her next over as India raced to 41 in four overs. When the left-right combo took 16 off the last over of the powerplay, bowled by Fatima Sana, they had galloped to 52 for no loss - their seventh fifty-plus partnership in 31 innings.
Tuba Hassan was welcomed with a four each by Mandhana and Shafali before the latter feathered an edge to the wicketkeeper. An over later, Mandhana charged to hit Hassan straight over her head to bring up her 15th T20I half-century.
Even though Pakistan dismissed S Meghana, Mandhana took India home in the 12th over. She finished unbeaten on 63, her best score in the format against Pakistan and her third fifty-plus score in T20Is in England.
Pakistan's base goes waste
Pakistan's start with the bat was shaky. Renuka Singh, fresh from a four-wicket haul in the opening game against Australia, began with a maiden over that had Muneeba Ali in a tangle. At the other end, Meghna Singh managed to catch the outside edge of Iram Javed's poking blade to jolt Pakistan early.
But Bismah Maroof and Muneeba steadied the innings with a fifty-run stand for the second wicket. Muneeba was the aggressor, scoring back-to-back fours off Renuka before hitting Meghna for a four - via a top edge - and a majestic six over deep midwicket. Using singles to keep the scorecard moving, Muneeba and Maroof's scoring pace increased and their alliance got to fifty in just 40 balls. And then it was stalled.
Rana turns it around
Sneh Rana had been rested from India's tour of Sri Lanka in late June and she used the time to work on her fitness at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. She was not picked for the game against Australia but came back into the XI against Pakistan, replacing Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
After a quiet first over in which she had both the left-hand batters in a tangle, Rana first trapped Maroof lbw - the Pakistan captain wasted a review too - and a couple of deliveries later, she deceived a set Muneeba with flight and dip to have her caught and bowled. Pakistan were 51 for 3 after nine overs.
Ayesha Naseem came in at No. 5 in the absence of Nida Dar, who missed the match with a concussion, and showed a glimpse of why she is highly rated. Using her quick hands, she pulled a length ball from Radha Yadav through midwicket for four. But her attempt at hitting Renuka over cow corner was caught by Jemimah Rodrigues running in from the deep.
Radha and Shafali's spin then managed to keep the rest of the batting quiet as Pakistan lost their last five wickets for three runs in just eight balls to fold for 99.
It was never going to be enough.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo