India showed an aggressive approach as they put up a ruthless performance to beat arch-rivals Pakistan by eight wickets and boost their chances of a semifinal berth at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.
Pakistan had won the toss and opted to bat first. However, their decision backfired as Indian bowlers bundled the entire team at 99 runs in the 18 overs-a-side contest after rain delayed the start of play.
Spinners Sneh Rana and Radha Yadav stood out with two wickets each.
The chase was clinical too with Smriti Mandhana (63 not out off 42 balls), flaunting her range of strokes on way to a fine unbeaten half-century. She finished the game in style with a boundary in just 11.4 overs.
India showed an approach that they have been trying to play with for the last couple of months and it would have most definitely pleased captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
Mandhana’s special effort comprised three sixes and eight boundaries.
It was the second time this year that an Indo-Pak contest failed to produce a close game with India winning comfortably against their opponents even in the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand.
Intermittent showers meant the match start was delayed by 45 minutes with the game reduced to 18 overs a side.
The city is home to a large Indian and Pakistan diaspora but the former had a bigger presence in the stands with the Indian flags visible from all parts of the ground.
The Indian fans certainly got their money’s worth in the first half of the game.
Renuka Singh, who bowled a dream spell in a losing cause against Australia, started with a rare maiden in the T20 format.
Three balls later, Pakistan were one down with no runs on the board as pacer Meghna Singh induced an outside edge off opener Iram Javed’s bat with a ball that shaped away.
Rana made an instant impact by removing a well-set Muneeba Ali (32) and Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof (17).
Renuka made it 64 for four in the 12th over by getting rid of Ayesha Nadeem.
Even India opener Shafali Verma rolled her arm over and got a wicket of a sharp return catch.
Pakistan tried but ended up with a below-par total.
(Inputs by PTI)