Fatima Sana stars with bat and ball to help Pakistan to a win
The batting line-up’s aggression, one of the better fielding performances and excellent bowling display by Fatima Sana led Pakistan to a 22-run victory in the final match of the five-match ODI series against West Indies on Sunday (July 19) at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua.
The game started on a wrong footing, because of continuous downpour overnight that meant the pitch had excess moisture. After multiple inspections from umpires, the match was initially reduced to 36 overs per side. For West Indies, Shakera Selman was replaced by the 21-year-old Shabika Gajnabi, who was playing her first ODI since November 2019.
West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor won the toss and invited Pakistan to bat first, on a slow pitch. Pakistan’s opening pair of Muneeba Ali and Sidra Ameen batted through power play, which was of seven overs, scoring 33 runs without losing any wicket. West Indies’ opening bowlers Chinelle Henry and Shamilia Connell were a little wayward as they gifted nine runs through extras.
As soon as the fielding restrictions ended, Taylor made a bowling change at both ends. Gajnabi dismissed Ameen in her second over with a marvellous off-cutter. Pakistan captain Javeria Khan soon fell cheaply for one off Hayley Matthews.
From two for 46 in the 12th over, Ali and Omaima Sohail started rebuilding the innings. But another downpour halted the match, which was then reduced to 34 overs-per-side. Immediately after the resumption of the play, Taylor introduced veteran Mohammed’s off-break and she broke the partnership of 49 runs, by making Ali come out of her crease to play the lofted on-drive only for wicket-keeper Rashada Williams to do the rest.
With a scoreline of three for 95 in the 22nd over, Kainat Imtiaz tried to change the gear of the Pakistani innings. She scored 21 runs off 24 balls before falling to Henry in the 27th over. Sohail (34) followed suit next over after which, Pakistan went on a rampage. They scored 40 in the last five overs, thanks to Ayesha Naseem (16) and Sana (28 not out), to post 190 for eight.
If West Indies were to chase down this target, which demanded a run-rate of 5.7 runs per over, they needed their openers to build a solid foundation up front.
West Indies’ hopes of chasing the 194-run DLS-adjusted target were dashed early when Matthews was cleverly run out by Diana Baig and wicket-keeper Ali in the fifth over. Britney Cooper and Deandra Dottin steadied the ship for West Indies as they posted a partnership of 48 runs.
Khan introduced Fatima Sana in the 15th over and it took the player of the match from the previous game just four balls to remove Dottin, who missed a straight ball and was comprehensively castled by the 19-year-old. At the tricky position of two for 61 in the 15th over Cooper was joined by in-form Taylor.
Even after Dottin (37) was dismissed, Cooper looked aggressive against Pakistani bowlers. She even hit a glorious six off Sana in the 19th over. That aggression led to her downfall as her efforts to scoop went nowhere, and she was caught behind by Ali. A quick partnership between Taylor and Kyshona Knight saw West Indies cross the 100 run mark in the 23rd over.
Once Taylor (21) was trapped in front by Diana Baig in the 25th over, West Indies lost wickets in regular intervals and Pakistan tightened the screws with one of their better fielding performances of the tour. The hosts lost their last five wickets for just 18 to go down by 22 runs.
Baig, Nida Dar and Nashara Sandhu shared four wickets among themselves but Sana was the undisputed star of the Pakistani bowling unit. Even though she missed out on a well-deserved hat-trick in the penultimate over, she broke the back of the West Indies chase with her maiden fifer. She registered figures of of 7-0-39-5, which are now the best ODI figures by a pace bowler for Pakistan.
West Indies, though, took the series 3-2.
Brief scores: Pakistan 190/8 in 34 fours (Muneeba Ali 39, Omaima Sohail 34; Shabika Gajnabi 2/26) beat West Indies 171 all out in 34 overs (Britney Cooper 40, Deandra Dottin 37: Fatima Sana 5/37) by 22 runs (via DLS Method)