WWT20: Javeria’s timing spells hope for ‘Paki’ dream

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By Avenash Ramzan

Javeria Khan last made a T20I fifty on March 28, 2018 against Sri Lanka in Colombo. That was in a bilateral series 16 innings ago.

While there were four scores between 31 and 38 in that period, you’d expect more telling contributions from a player of her repute, one good enough to be captain and a permanent fixture in Pakistan side since 2009.

Her World Cup, like Pakistan’s, didn’t start as planned: her personal scores read 9 and 17 and the Asian unit had two Ls on the points table.

Fast forward to November 13, 2018.

It’s a steamy Tuesday afternoon, the day after Local Government polls in Guyana, and the newsfeed is clogged with a major political entity making inroads into unchartered territory.

But like another local party stumbling in its quest to stand alone, Javeria knew deep inside that for a wobbly Pakistan to keep their dreams of winning the first-ever standalone Women’s World T20 alive, something innovative and decisive is needed.

And she produced it. Standing all alone.

The Karachi lass called correctly at the toss and maybe that was the first sign that good things were in store.

Coming in at three after Nahida Khan fell for 10 at 16-1 halfway through the fifth over, Javeria stayed to the end, facing 52 of the 93 remaining deliveries.

Eleven of them were sent to the boundary; the other batters managed five combined.

Her 74 not out was not only a career-best, but also the record for the highest score by a Pakistan female player in all T20 Internationals.

The 30-year-old could not have chosen a better moment to bury the dreadful Caribbean memory of 2010, when she was called for a suspect bowling action in the Women’s World T20 in St. Kitts and was subsequently suspended from bowling by the ICC.

That the others combined for 49 off 41 during her stay at the crease, spoke not only of Javeria’s dominance, but the ease that characterised her free-flowing knock.

When it wasn’t finesse, it was joyful brutality.

The drives down the ground were easy on the eyes.

The cuts were a thing of grandeur.

The intermittent dances down the track and good extension of the levers excuded a high degree of confidence in ability and sound judgment of the Providence turf.

You’d be forgiven for thinking one of Pakistan’s male cricketers had snuck his way to the middle.

A closer look under the helmet would tell another tale though: A Bollywood-like gorgeousness being so dismissive of the cricket ball can leave you perplexed.

Javeria’s masterpiece, timely as it was, cultivated the type of momentum Pakistan needed, and that spilled over to their bowlers, who were given 139 to defend.

Pakistan bowlers defended well, keeping things tight (Photo: Shatanand Anude)

Ireland faced 64 dot balls batting first against Australia in the opening game, and opener Kim Garth spoke of that being a concern at the post-match.

That became a sore point by the end of this contest, as they failed to score off 72 deliveries, 60% of what was available. They barely managed to bat out the overs, creeping to 101-9.

Ireland captain Laura Delany said at the post-match conference: “From a batting point of view we need to look at our scoring shot percentage. I think we faced way too many dots.”

What they also faced was a spot-on Javeria; she rotated the bowlers well, and they delivered with expert precision.

Pakistan need to replicate or better Tuesday’s effort if they stand a chance of progressing. Javeria has given her nation a lifeline; it is up to the others to snatch the moment.

For Ireland, the Women’s World T20 has been a rude baptism. The joy of being the top qualifier a few weeks ago has seemingly disappeared.

“It’s just disappointing…,” a teary-eyed Delany reflected.

SCOREBOARD LINK: https://www.worldtwenty20.com/match/8633#scorecard

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