Pakistan scripted a phenomenal comeback into the tournament to post their first win in the mega Women’s ODI World Cup of 2022. But there was a context to this win as also a reason for profound triumph.
The last that Pakistan Women ever won an ODI in any World Cup was back in 2009. To give a context of just how far back in time that was, in 2009, the likes of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami were still well and truly forging what would become a monumental careers. Back then, the dashing quartet of talents whom we call Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor were still newcomers in the game. And guess what?
The brightly shining Nida Dar, the massive reason for Pakistan’s lordly triumph over the West Indies, hadn’t yet debuted in the game.
But today, thirteen long years since their fantastic 2009 ODI world cup against Sri Lanka, their persistence to continuingly improve paid off. What worked in tandem for a team spirited by Nida Dar’s fantastic individual performance was the triumvirate of powerful bowling, disciplined fielding and responsible batting.
Nida Dar was outstanding to say the most obvious but most unmissable fact of the day.
In a rain-affected game, only 20 overs per team were allotted to play. The breakthroughs at regular intervals hampered Windies chances to build partnerships, that way it left no room for their batters to settle down and anchor the innings. The bowlers were the heart of today’s win. Nida picked 4 wickets, while Fatima Sana, Nashra Sandhu, Omaima Sohail picked a wicket each. Muneeba Ali made a prominent mark with her steady start to the chase of a target of 90-runs. It was a quick-fire innings, in which she scored 37 runs and put Pakistan in a comfortable position. Her innings was a crucial in the chase.
Nida Dar toppled the Windies line-up and completely turned the match in Pakistan’s favour in the first innings.
Nida’s four overs revealed the intent Pakistan came into play today. Prior to the all-rounder’s magnificent bowling, the foundation was laid by the outstanding spell of Anam Amin. Amin returned with the figures of 4-1-6-0. Her tight spell kept building the dot ball pressure among the batters and made it difficult for them to even rotate strike. By this way runs dried out and the batters were forced to score runs. Many Batters perished with wrong shot selections to cut loose the mounting pressure.
Nida Dar was introduced as the fifth bowling option. On the very first ball, she took a clean return catch of Deandra Dottin to give her team the possible game changing moment. Dottin was looking to strike the ball towards the leg side but ended up being caught by the bowler herself. Moreover, Dottin was the only player who dealt in boundaries among top-three in the batting order.
In the next over, she bowled a short ball forcing the batter to come out of the crease and play the shot. Shemaine Campbelle couldn’t read the ball and as it pierced through the gap between the bat and pad. Wicketkeeper Sidra Nawaz completed the stumpings to remove another potential batter who can anchor an innings in the middle-order. In this over, Dar only concede a run and kept the pressure growing in the Windies camp.
After allowing four runs in her third over, she completed her 4-fer in the final over. She picked up two back to back wickets off the final deliveries to send the well set Kycia Knight and Chinelle Henry for a duck. Both these players looked to go for the big shots and ended up finding the fielders in the mid-on and long-on region. Nida bowled struck twice with two tossed up deliveries and dismissed two probable finishers left in the squad apart from the Stafanie Taylor.
Taylor was also dismissed in the next over; this was serious damage that Windies Women would never recover from recover from. Nida Dar recorded her career best figures 4-0-10-4 in ODI’s and was rewarded with the player of the match honours for her match winning performance. An exceptional and standout performance that few saw coming but truly set the evening rainy skies of New Zealand with bright twinkle.
That being said, make no mistake.
Nida Dar was under pressure in previous games for her inconsistency with both bat and ball. It took one match for a turn around and her experience in participating in franchise leagues like WBBL was utilised well in today’s game.
Pakistan and their persistence effort towards improvement has been paid off finally in this tournament. Next up, they face defending champions England on March 24, which will also be a knockout match for both the teams.