Rewind: Ekta Bisht – her 5 for 8 and Pakistani affair
Taking five wickets in a match is always very special for any cricketer. And when the occasion is an India-Pakistan affair, it adds more to the performance. For Ekta Bisht, the morning of February 19, 2017, will remain an unforgettable one.
Although it was a World Cup Qualifier, the occasion was always big as India were playing Pakistan at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. India won the toss and put the opposition into bat. Pakistan were bowled out for just 67 in 43.4 overs with Bisht doing most of the damage picking up five wickets conceding just eight runs including seven maidens – her career-best in ODIs.
“Since we had already played few games in the qualifiers by then, the rhythm was good from the start,” Bisht told Women’s CricZone from her Railways camp. “When you are up against a team like Pakistan, its gives you an extra motivation to prove because any Indo-Pak game means a lot to everyone,” she added recalling that game.
The Indian bowlers led by Shikha Pandey had already made a resounding start, with the fast bowler dismissing Javeria Khan and Nahida Khan early. Bisht came into action in the 11th over and was bang on from the start picking up a wicket maiden in her very first over.
She trapped opener Ayesha Zafar plumb in front for 19 before picking up Nain Abidi for a 20-ball duck in the 17th over. With four wickets down, Pakistan were all but gone in the match. To make matters worse, Bisht removed Sana Mir who played just 29 balls for just one run.
“She (Mir) is a great cricketer with so much experience and skill. To dismiss her that day was really quite pleasing,” said the left-arm spinner. Her last two scalps were Rabiya Shah and Sadiya Yousuf. “To play against them and bring my best figures in ODIs was a proud feeling for me,” said Bisht.
However, despite the defeat, Pakistan went on to qualify for the World Cup, but Bisht went on to haunt them again by taking another fifer, and this time conceding 10 runs more. Incidentally, those were the only two fifers for Bisht in her ODI career.
Asked if she has a special connection with Pakistan, Bisht said, “There is nothing like that. Whichever team I play against, my aim remains to give 100 per cent in the match. Both my fifers against Pakistan came at a point when my team needed me the most, and I feel good when I perform against any team, not just only Pakistan.”
She further added, “I forgot her name, but during the main round game, one Pakistani player told me, “Abhi tum chor do, tum humari team ke saare wickets le leti ho (Please spare us, you pick all the wickets in our team).”
Bisht also spoke about the environment in the match, which made her work much easier. “I can’t say whether it was the extra motivation or not, but the fans who came to cheer us, it feels like that have come to play. Seeing them, it feels like I should perform for them who have come with high hopes,” she concluded.