Jemimah Rodrigues said on Sunday that “amazing” superstar Virat Kohli was the driving force behind India’s triumph over Pakistan at the Women’s T20 World Cup. In Cape Town, Rodrigues scored an unbeaten 53 off 38 deliveries to lead her team to a seven-wicket victory after India finished off their 150-run total with six balls remaining. The match’s victorious player, Rodrigues, acknowledged that Kohli’s dazzling 82 not out off 53 balls during India’s four-wicket triumph over Pakistan in the Men’s T20 World Cup last year had served as motivation.
“India v Pakistan matches are always a little bit more special — we spoke about it in the team meeting,” said the 22-year-old. “Growing up we always watched these matches. I remember watching the match at the MCG where Virat Kohli played such an extraordinary knock. “We did speak about it but we also just wanted to go out there and put our first win on the board. We just wanted to go out, play the same cricket and with the same intensity as usual.” Rodrigues entered the World Cup after a troubling stretch of play in which she had only scored 30 or more once in her previous 10 T20 international innings.
However, on Sunday she stole the show, well assisted by wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh, 19, who scored 31 not out. “This inning means a lot to me — I hadn’t been getting scores for a long time,” Rodrigues told a news conference. “As a batter when you’re not getting scores, it’s definitely not an enjoyable time. I was working really hard in the nets, I knew I was ticking all the boxes, putting in the effort, and going to the gym. “It was very tough but when it mattered the most, it came, so it was very special for me.” The victory on Sunday was India’s 11th over their regional opponents in 14 T20 games.
After winning the toss, Pakistan put up a competitive score of 149-4, led by skipper Bismah Maroof’s unbeaten 68. The 18-year-old Ayesha Naseem scored 43 runs off 25 balls. “We played very good cricket throughout the match. There were errors in our bowling, but overall it was a good match,” said Bismah. “There are lots of learnings and we’re planning to be better next game.”