Pakistan's highly-controversial women's team joined Ireland and the Netherlands in the winner's circle on the first day of the International Women's Cricket Council Trophy tournament in Amstelveen and Leiden yesterday.
The Pakistan side is taking part, despite the intentions of the Pakistan Cricket Board which has tried to block the side from using their country's name. The right to represent Pakistan women's cricket is being contested by the PCB and the Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association, which has its team at the tournament.
Pakistan met Japan, who were making their first international appearance, and gave them a harsh introduction to this level of women's cricket, which is just below the full international tier.
Batting first, Pakistan scored 181 for 6, which included 65 extras. Kiran Baluch scored 31, Shaiza Khan 30 while Japanese captain Kaori Kato took 2 for 25 from 10 overs for Japan.
However, Japan withered with the bat and were all out for 26 in 34 overs. Only eight of their runs came from the bat as seven batsmen were dismissed for ducks. Fifteen-year-old Sajjida Shah, who became the youngest player in the international game when making her debut against Ireland aged 12 in 2000, claimed what will be the best figures in women's one-day internationals, if these matches are classified as full ODIs.
She took 7 for 4 which bettered the 7 for 8 taken by Joanne Chamberlain of England against Denmark in a European Championship match at Haarlem in 1991. Kursheed Jabeen didn't miss out on the records either as she took 3 for 2 off 10 overs, which equalled the record for the most economical spell in women's ODIs. She shares the record with Netherlands turned New Zealand player Nicola Payne who took 0 for 2 off 10 overs for the Dutch against Sri Lanka at Kandy in 1997-98.
Japan did avoid the ignominy of the lowest score in women's ODIs - 23 scored by Pakistan against Australia at Melbourne in 1996-97 - although Pakistan had only 10 players. The lowest score by a full XI is 24 by Scotland against England at Reading in 2000.
Ireland's game with West Indies started three hours late due to a strike at London's Heathrow Airport. Batting first Ireland scored 78 in 44 overs, extras top scoring with 22. Verena Felician was the most successful of the West Indian bowlers taking 2 for 13 from 9 overs. West Indies were humbled in their reply, being dismissed for 50 in 24 overs as Barbara McDonald took 4 for 13 off 8 overs and Catherine O'Neill 4 for 15 off 6 overs.
The Netherlands made good use of batting first against Scotland, scoring 300 for 5 off their 50 overs. Pauline te Beest hit 138 to become the first Dutch woman to score 1000 runs for her country while she added 224 in a second-wicket partnership with Debby Kooij (78). Scotland were then dismissed for 74 in 46 overs. Birgit Viguurs took 3 for 7 off 6 overs and Sandra Kottman 2 for 4 off 9.
The top two teams after the round robin phase will qualify for the Women's World Cup to be held in South Africa in early 2005. If two teams are level on points in second place, a playoff match will be held to determine who advances.
Pauline te Beest
International Women's Cricket Council Trophy