PAARL, South Africa – West Indies once again survived a dramatic final over before pulling off a three-run victory over Pakistan to keep alive their slender hopes of a semi-final place in the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup here Sunday.
Defending a paltry 117 at Boland Park, West Indies were forced down to the wire by a determined Pakistan before getting over the line, to post their second victory in three days and yank themselves into third spot in Group 2 on four points.
Entering the final over, West Indies appeared favorites especially with Pakistan needing 18 for victory, but the balance shifted after fast bowler Shamilia Connell sent down a succession of loose deliveries to concede three boundaries.
Fatima Sana (nine not out) squirted the first delivery to the third man ropes before top-scorer Aliya Riaz (29) punched two of her four fours, to leave her side requiring a nerve-jangling five runs from the last two balls.
The game took another twist when Aliya Riaz dragged on the fifth delivery and needing four off the final ball to force a decisive super-over, Omaima Sohail missed a heave at a full length delivery and could scramble a leg bye.
“We know it’s a game of cricket and the momentum could change at any point in time,” a relieved captain Hayley Matthews said afterwards.
“We knew Pakistan still had dangerous batters at the crease, and we had to be on our mark for as long as possible to be able to win the game at the end.”
She added: “We didn’t completely hit our A game but the bowlers really stepped up to the plate and won the game for us. That’s what we could really say. The bowlers won the game for us, which was good to see …”
Rashada Williams had earlier top-scored with 30 from 34 balls as the Caribbean side gathered 116 for six from their 20 overs after choosing to bat first.
She featured in a 33-run, opening stand with Matthews (20) and then in a 40-run, second wicket partnership with vice-captain Shemaine Campbelle (22).
Once the 25-year-old Williams was beaten in flight by left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal and tapped a return catch in the 13th over, West Indies declined at the back end, losing five wickets for 38 runs off 42 balls.
In reply, Pakistan slumped to 15 for two in the fifth over after losing Muneeba Ali (5) and Sidra Ameen (8) cheaply and even though Bismah Maroof (26) anchored two successive productive stands to revive the run chase, both partnerships were sluggish and elevated the required run rate.
Bismah struck two fours in a 33-ball knock in adding 44 off 53 deliveries for the third wicket with Nida Dar (27), before putting on a further 30 off 26 balls for the fourth wicket with Aliya Riaz who punched four fours in a breezy 23-ball outing.
Matthews, adjudged Player-of-the-Match after claiming two for 14 from four overs of off-spin, struck the key blow when she had Misbah lbw on review in the 18th over and the runs dried up quickly for Pakistan.