Pakistan eye England scalp in Women T20 World Cup

By: Raheel Hanif      Published: 04:07 PM, 27 Feb, 2020
Pakistan eye England scalp in Women T20 World Cup
Diana Baig was impressive with the ball in win over West Indies. AFP

Pakistan women are eying another upset in the Twenty20 Cup clash when they take on mighty England side in their second match of the event on Friday.

Bismah Maroof’s outfit raised eyebrows with a thumping eight-wicket win over 2016 winners West Indies, throwing Group B wide open and fuelling hope they can reach the knockout stages for the first time ever.

Despite an emphatic win over West Indies, another victory against England would be a tough ask for women in green as they have yet to beat England in their nine meetings thus far, with this game shaping as potentially decisive for second place with South Africa looking to stretch their lead at the summit against Thailand.

England are not son invincible this time around, however, as they were defeated by South Africa in their opening match but showed much improved performance against their win over Thailand.

And Pakistan’s rapid progress is no surprise to England’s Lauren Winfield. Winfield, part of the England side that beat Pakistan 3-0 in a series back in December, saw their resurgence first-hand in Malaysia and feels the tournament is playing into Pakistan’s hands.

“Pakistan already looked like they’ve improved from December,” Winfield said. “They played some good cricket in that series in patches. Looking from afar, you read results, you win a series 3-0 and no-one delves into the details. They’re a much-improved side and they played some good cricket in Malaysia. This tournament is giving teams with a lot of slower bowling that don’t often score huge totals an opportunity, because they’re on good conditions with fast outfields.”

Captain Bismah showed signs of good form in their series defeat to England, scoring 60 in the first T20I, and she shepherded Pakistan with a masterful unbeaten 38 in pursuit of 124 against Windies. Her deputy and opener Javeria Khan, who posted an unbeaten 57 in the third and final match in December, is shouldering responsibility as a senior batter.

Javeria also set the tone of the chase against West Indies with a stroke-filled 35 off 28 balls, her innings included six fours. The right-handed opener who is one of Pakistan’s most experienced players with a total of 98 T20I outings is confident of repeating the heroics against the formidable England outfit.

 “We can’t thank the Almighty enough; we succeeded in giving a total team performance against West Indies. The bowlers set the tone and they were very well supported by fielders and batters’ both, it was a complete team effort, said Javeria. “[On the England match] T20 is a kind of format where the team that executes its plan better on the day wins. We are focused on our performance rather than worrying about the opposition, we would strive to apply our plans well and if we do that well we can succeed regardless of the opposition.”

Lower-order batter Aliya Riaz admits her side caught West Indies unawares with their plans and won't be able to rely on the same element of surprise against familiar foes England.

“It’s going to be a big game, a pressure game as well,” she said. “We’ll need to perform exceptionally well and be very disciplined in all three areas of the game to beat a team as good as England. People don’t know a lot about what our plans are so we can surprise teams, but that works both ways. We are preparing and we will take it match-by-match. We're not looking at qualifying, we're moving forward and planning.”

SQUADS:

PAKISTAN: Bismah Maroof (captain), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wicketkeeper) and Syeda Aroob Shah

ENGLAND: Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones (wk), Heather Knight (capt), Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole (vice-capt), Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt.