KARACHI: Aliya Riaz and Fatima Sana held their nerves, leading Pakistan Women to their highest successful run-chase in T20Is. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, and Bismah Maroof’s 37 (30) being the highest number on Pakistan’s batting scorecard, the hosts chased down151 against South Africa on the last ball.
Captain Nida Dar won the toss and opted to field first, at the National Bank Stadium. The surface, conducive to batting, allowed the visitors a flying start. South African captain Laura Wolvaardt, accompanied by Tazmin Brits, provided the visitors with a firecracker powerplay; the scorecard read 48-0 after the first six overs.
Pakistan’s left-arm-spin duo of Nashra Sundhu and Sadia Iqbal attempted, and succeeded to slow down the South African assault. The partnership was effectively broken after Wolvaardt lost her wicket to Nashra. Sadia later got Marizanne Kapp out cheaply. Before losing her wicket to Fatima Sana, Brits went on to score her highest score yet in the format; producing a magnificent 78, for which she was awarded player of the match, despite South Africa ending on the losing side.
Pakistani openers Shawaal Zulfiqar – on debut – and Sidra Amin set the tone for the chase. Despite losing wickets – and four of them being run outs – Pakistan did not falter for long. Bismah’s 37 helped provide stability and momentum to the chase, which was then upheld by the impressive partnership of 43 runs between Aliya Riaz and Muneeba Ali, the latter batting at number six for the third time.
The game turned into a thriller, with just eight needed off the last over. Aliya and Fatima rotated the strike effectively, bringing the required run to just one on the last ball. Aliya then took her gloves off in celebration, and relief, after hitting the winning runs.
The second T20I between South Africa and Pakistan will be played on 3 September 2023, Sunday at 7:30 pm.
Scores in brief:
Pakistan beat South Africa by 5 wickets.
South Africa: 150-3 (Tazmin Brits 78, Laura Wolvaardt 44; Nashra Sundhu 1-20, Sadia Iqbal 1-22)
Pakistan: 151-5 (Bismah Maroof 37, Aliya Riaz 28*; Marizanne Kapp 1-24).
Player of the Match: Tazmin Brits (South Africa)