Fatima Sana, Shawaal Zulfiqar lead Pakistan women to a historic victory

DUNEDIN (APP): Pakistan’s women’s team created history on Sunday, defeating New Zealand women by seven wickets in the first T20I at the University of Otago Oval in Dunedin.

This marked the first win for Pakistan’s women’s team over the New Zealand women, also known as the White Ferns, in the T20I format. Chasing 128 to win, Pakistan’s opening pair of Shawaal Zulfiqar and Muneeba Ali provided a decent 40-run start to the innings.

Muneeba scored 23 off 24 balls with four dashing boundaries and was the first batter to return to the pavilion. At that stage, captain Nida Dar promoted herself up in the order and knitted 51 runs for the second wicket with right-handed batter Shawwal.

The 18-year-old Shawaal, playing her sixth T20I and first on New Zealand soil, scored her highest T20I score of 41 off 42 balls, smashing seven boundaries all around the ground with great confidence.

Following Shawaal’s departure at the end of the 13th over with 91 runs on the board, Nida too was dismissed after a quick-fire 23 off 14 balls, including a four and a six.

With back-to-back wickets falling, the experienced pair of Bismah Maroof and Aliya Riaz got together and guided the team to a seven-wicket win with 10 balls to spare. Aliya returned unbeaten on 25 of 12 balls. Her innings included two fours and a six, the latter of which she struck on the second ball of the 19th over to finish the match. Bismah was undefeated on 13 of 18 balls, hitting a four.

Earlier, after opting to bat first, the White Ferns were restricted to 127 for six courtesy of a fine bowling display by the touring side.

Right-arm fast Fatima Sana, who missed the Bangladesh tour due to injury, capitalized on the overcast conditions and bowled a spell of four overs, giving away only 18 runs and bagging three wickets. Nida, Diana Baig, and Aliya took a wicket each.

For New Zealand, Maddy Green was the top run-getter, scoring 43 off 28 balls and hitting five fours. Pakistan will now take on the White Ferns in the second T20I on Tuesday, December 5, at the same venue. The match will begin at 1300 local time, while the third and final T20I of the series will be played in Queenstown on Saturday, December 9.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan women beat New Zealand women by seven wickets.

New Zealand 127-6, 20 overs (Maddy Green 43 not out, Suzie Bates 28; Fatima Sana 3-18).

Pakistan 132-3, 18.2 overs (Shawaal Zulfiqar 41, Aliya Riaz 25 not out, Muneeba Ali 23, Nida Dar 23; Sophie Devine 2-23)

Player of the match: Fatima Sana (Pakistan)

Series schedule:

3 December: 1st T20I, Dunedin (Pakistan women beat New Zealand women by seven wickets)

5 December, 2nd T20I, Dunedin (1 p.m. local time)

9 December, 3rd T20I, Queenstown (1 p.m. local time)

12 December: 1st ODI, Queenstown (11 a.m. local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)

15 December: 2nd ODI, Christchurch (2 p.m. local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)

18 December: 3rd ODI, Christchurch (2 p.m. local time) (ICC Women’s Championship).