Colombo: Pakistan women maintained their all-win record on tour in Sri Lanka – they swept the ODIs 3-0 – but endured a fair few nerves en route a chase they looked set to kill very easily in Colombo. Cruising at 89 for 3 in 12 overs chasing 130, they lost six for 38 to set up a thrilling finish. In the end, No. 11 Ghulam Fatima, on T20I debut, hit the penultimate ball for a boundary to help Pakistan record their highest chase in the format.
Sugandika Kumari, the left-arm spinner, orchestrated the collapse to pick three wickets, including that of Javeria Khan, but not before she smashed the fastest T20I fifty for a Pakistani woman. By then, Pakistan were within touching distance even though they kept losing wickets. Bismah Maroof, the captain and No. 3, helped consolidate early in the innings with a brisk 31-ball 42 that set the tone of the chase. With these two innings knocking off nearly three quarter of the target, the others needed to just chip in, which they barely managed in the end.
That Sri Lanka were able to make a match of this was courtesy Anushka Sanjeewani’s maiden T20 half-century. Playing in just her eighth T20I, she struck eight fours in her 58-ball 61 at the top of the order, even as Sri Lanka endured a top-order collapse that reduced them to 38 for 5 in the ninth over. Sana Mir, the offspinner, and Diana Baig, the medium pacer, picked up four of those wickets between them to maintain a stranglehold over proceedings. Sanjeewani found support from Nilakshi de Silva, the No. 7 batsman, whose unbeaten 34-ball 35 during the course of a 84-run stand off just 11.5 overs helped Sri Lanka stage a remarkable recovery. Sanjeewani looked set to carry her bat through, but was run out off the penultimate delivery of the innings.