Pakistan women defeated India women by two runs as the Duckworth-Lewis method came into effect in the ICC Women's World T20 2016 at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, Saturday. The pressure for the home side was clearly visible from the start of the match and although the experienced customers Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami brought cheers back for the home side in the closing stages of the match, rain ruined their plans of pulling off an improbable win.
The away side rode on their bright start in the day and some luck to win their first game of the competition and keep themselves very much alive in the competition.
Chasing just a small total of 97 runs in 20 overs, the Pakistan women, led by some hard and calculated hitting from Nahida Khan, Sidra Hameen and Muneeba Ali, seemed to be on course for a win, before an India comeback derailed their run chase.
With Pakistan on 77/6, needing 20 runs in four overs, but facing a crisis of confidence as wickets tumbled, and just when we were in for an exciting finish, the rain Gods decided to come down and play spoilsport, with it handing Pakistan a victory by the D/L method.
Jhulan, using her height to an advantage, remained one of the only bright signs for India women, along with Mithali, in the match. Both women brought their experience to the table during the Pakistan innings and remained impressive with their fielding. Jhulan took a wicket in her four-over spell, giving away just 14 runs.
Mithali was a formidable too. It didn't start that well, to be honest, for the hosts once they took to the field, but two back-to-back run outs in the 16th over brought the excitement back once again. But that's when the rain played spoilsport.
India men's cricket team spinner R Ashwin mentioned Friday that the pressure of playing in an India-Pakistan game should not go too much into the head of the players. However, that is what actually happened with the India women, who faltered just too much during their batting innings.
Having said that, nothing can be taken away from the beautiful bowling performance by Pakistan to restrict the hosts from even reaching the 100-run figure and not allowing any real partnerships to take shape. After the tenth over of the match, the question arose whether the Indian side would even reach anywhere close to 100 runs.
It took eight overs for India to hit the first boundary of the match, but it took Pakistan women just three balls to hit the ropes.
Anam Amin and Asmavia Iqbal performed with the ball brilliantly to restrict India to 7/2 after six overs -- the lowest score after the powerplay overs in World T20 -- at a shocking run rate of 1.17. The likes of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and even Mithali Raj tried to display their skills with the batting, but even they will have to praise the effort put in by the Pakistani bowlers and fielders to just restrict them from giving their best shot.
Veda Krishnamurthy tried her best to fire for the India Women with five to six overs remaining in the game, but even her efforts remained futile. India targetted Nida Dar and Sadia Yousuf to get their innings up and running, but except in the 16th over, which produced 14 runs, nothing really worked for the hosts.
Both sides now have one win and a defeat each in the ICC Women's World T20 2016.
Catch the full scorecard and the highlights of the game HERE.