Skipper Mithali Raj finally came good with an unbeaten century as India beat Pakistan by six wickets in their seventh place play-off encounter in the ICC women’s World Cup at the Barabati Stadium here on Thursday.
Already out of contention after being hammered by Sri Lanka, the Women In Blue came up with a much improved performance as they first restricted Pakistan to 192 for seven in 50 overs and then reached the target in 46 overs.
Back in form
Mithali, who had been woefully out of touch, helped herself back into form with an unbeaten 103 off 141 balls with the help of 13 boundaries and a six. The only regret she would have is that her best didn’t come when it mattered.
Mithali added 87 for the unbroken fifth wicket with Reema Malhotra, who remained unbeaten on 25.
The Indian women were in a spot of bother at 108 for four but the Indian captain found an able ally in Malhotra and two took the team home comfortably in what the host’s final game of the tournament.
Mithali also enjoyed couple of useful stands of 43 and 49 with opener Thirush Kamini (26) and Harmanpreet Kaur (16).
Earlier, the decision to bat first didn’t quite work for Pakistan, which was saved to a large extent due to the contrasting half-centuries from Nain Abidi (58) and Nida Dar (68 not out).
The Indian bowlers, led by the economical pace duo of Jhulan Goswami (two for 17) and Niranjana Nagarajan (three for 35), kept it tight for most part.
The host was off to a perfect start when it sent back the Pakistan openers with just 28 on the board in 11 overs.
But, Abidi steadied the ship by forging a 32-run partnership with Bimah Maroof (15). Then came the crucial 80-run stand with Dar, which brought Pakistan back into the match. Dar was the more aggressive of the two batters, striking seven fours in her 83-ball knock.
Abidi faced 113 balls and struck five fours before being out caught by Thirush Kamini off Goswami’s bowling. After the settled partnership was broken, Pakistan could not accelerate in the closing stages faced with a disciplined Indian attack.
For India, Ekta Bisht also chipped in with a wicket even though she was tad expensive, conceding 50 runs in her nine overs.
The scores: Play-off for seventh place: Pakistan 192 for seven in 50 overs (Nida Dar 68 n.o., Nain Abidi 58, Niranjana Nagarajan three for 35) lost to India 195 for four in 46 overs (Mithali Raj 103 n.o., Thirush Kamini 26, Reema Malhotra 25 n.o.).