As the Harmanpreet Kaur-led team overcame arch-rival Pakistan by seven wickets in their opening Group B encounter of the Women’s T20 World Cup on Sunday, young India wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh delivered the pyrotechnics in the 18th over. Just when India’s chances of winning the match appeared to be dwindling, Ghosh hammered three boundaries in a fruitful 18th over that was bowled by Aiman Anwer. India was given a target of 150 to win the match, and Ghosh, who is unbeaten at 31, and her partner Jemimah Rodrigues, who made a 38-ball unbroken 53, were the key forces behind that achievement.
Ayesha Naseem’s scorching 43 not out and Bismah Maroof’s undefeated 68 earlier in the innings helped Pakistan post a difficult 149 for 4. The most effective Indian bowler, Radha Yadav, finished with 2 for 21 in her four overs. When Javeria Khan (8) attempted to sweep but instead gave a top edge to Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma gave India the opening break. Muneeba Ali, another risky opener, was eliminated by Radha for 12 and Pakistan’s score was down to 42/2. The Pakistani wicketkeeper-batter was approaching when the India spinner blasted an arms delivery outside off.
Richa Ghosh whipped the bails off after Muneeba attempted a swipe but missed. The latter’s 43 came off just 25 balls at a strike rate of 172, but Bismah and Ayesha somehow put together an 81-run combination.