WWT20: New Zealand spinners strangle piteous Pakistan
By Akeem Greene
With New Zealand nor Pakistan having a realistic chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, due to Australia and India already sealing the top spots of Group B in the Women’s World T20, the dead rubber turned into a battle of pride and it was New Zealand who left Providence the happiest by miles.
Chasing 146 for their second win of the tournament, Pakistan folded in 18 overs for just 90 runs, which on the flip side, gave the ladies in pink their first victory of the tournament on Thursday evening.
The total was no way out of the reach for the improving Asian unit, but with no dew to cause discomfort, off-spinner Jess Watkin bowled a fantastic length, which bamboozled the batters and produced figures of 3-9 in four overs in the 54-run victory.
Apart from the trademark wristy shots from captain Javeria Khan, who made a splendid 23-ball 36, the rest of the batting was abysmal. The next best scores were 12 and 11 by Aliya Riaz and Nida Dar respectively.
Watkin’s misery was supported by leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, who flexed her wand to flatten the lower-order with 3-21. At one stage Pakistan were blazing at 31 without loss in three overs until two wickets fell within the space of two overs.
The spinners were then introduced, the runs dried up and the wickets gushed in with regularity. Their final seven wickets were scattered for just 38 runs in 11.3 overs in their final match of the tournament.
What a way to go home.
New Zealand’s leading batters Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine played fearless at the start to give an indication a huge total was on the menu. However, 39 without loss at the end of the Power-play was more favourable for Pakistan since their sloppy fielding could have been more porous.
In the second phase, the accelerator should have been pressed, but the Pakistanis hit the brakes instead, with some deceptively slow bowling by their spinners.
Yes, spinners are already ‘slow bowlers’ but the Pakistanis used their diminutive height and looped the ball at a slower pace.
It forced the New Zealand batters to add pace by foxing down the wicket, however, the guile of Dar and Nashra Sundhu was undermining the move and the ladies in green quietly pulled themselves back into the match.
Bates and Devine’s opening stand of 59 came from 51 deliveries; only six boundaries were scored. When they took the walk back to the pavilion, they seemed to carry the keys for the engine since their team never got going again.
The pitch was certainly not the best for free-flowing scoring, but it did not reflect the lack of fluidity with the Kiwi’s scoring.
Amy Satterthwaite knock of 26 was less than a run-a-ball, while Katey Martin just had two fours and a maximum in her 29. Chief wrecker in the usual slog overs was Sana Mir and Riaz, who combined to take four wickets within the space of eight balls; at one point in the final over Riaz was on a hat-trick.
The total proved to more than what was required.
Pakistan now return home with three defeats and one victory in four matches, while New Zealand have their finale on Saturday against Ireland who are yet to taste victory.