CWG 2022 | With India’s first victory, the Indo-Pak affair became non-contested

Compared to the women’s cricket opener between India and Australia, 25,000 fans thronged the stadium.

Compared to the women’s cricket opener between India and Australia, 25,000 fans thronged the stadium.

Under pressure, India brought out their desired ‘killing attitude’ as they produced a ferocious performance to boost their chances of a semifinal berth by beating arch-rivals Pakistan by eight wickets at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on July 31, 2022.

Pakistan’s decision to bat first backfired as the Indian bowlers suffocated to bat and were bowled out for 99 runs in the 18-over match after the start of play was delayed due to rain.

Spinners Sneha Rana and Radha Yadav took two wickets each.

The chase was clinical even with Smriti Mandhana (63 not out off 42 balls), the most impressive batsman in women’s cricket, as she unleashed a series of strokes en route to an unbeaten half-century. As a result, India chased down the target in just 11.4 overs.

India have shown the way they have been trying to play for the past two months and that will surely make skipper Harmanpreet Kaur happy.

Mandhana’s standout effort included three sixes, one of which was hit by step-out off-spinner Tuba Hasan for her half-century. A seemingly effortless loft over pacer Diana Baig’s cover in the third over was also of the highest quality.

This is the second time this year that the Indo-Pak competition has failed to deliver a close game as India also comfortably beat their opponents in the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand.

However, the much-anticipated match of the Commonwealth Games lived up to the hype off the field as fans flocked to Edgbaston in large numbers.

The start of the match was delayed by 45 minutes due to intermittent showers, reducing the game to 18 overs.

Compared to the women’s cricket opener between India and Australia, fans thronged the 25,000-capacity stadium, but it didn’t look like a complete sell-out.

The city is home to a large Indian and Pakistani diaspora, but the former has a large presence in the stands with Indian flags visible from all parts of the ground.

Dance numbers from Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh added to the atmosphere and the game felt like it was happening in Mohali rather than Birmingham.

Normally, one would have to pay a lot of money for an Indo-Pak cricket game, but Sunday morning’s match offered a much cheaper alternative.

“I paid £20 for a ticket. I can’t even afford £200 for a men’s game. I feel lucky to be here,” said Coventry resident Rajeev Chauhan.

Indian fans certainly got their money’s worth in the first half of the game.

Renuka Singh, who bowled a dream spell in the loss against Australia, got off to a good start with a rare maiden in the T20 format.

Three balls later, Pakistan were one down with no runs on the board when pacer Meghna Singh induced an outside edge off the bat of opener Iram Javed.

Spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad was replaced by Sneha Rana and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur went in as an additional all-rounder in the playing eleven. Batter S Meghna, a late addition to the squad here after recovering from Covid, has been replaced by Harleen Deol.

Muniba Ali (32) and Pakistan captain Bismah Maruf (17) who were in a good set, were immediately dismissed by Rana.

Muneebah played some bold strokes in her 30-ball effort, including a six with a slog sweep off Meghna. Maruf is dead trying to sweep as Muniba is beaten in flight and returns the catch to Rana.

Renuka dismissed Ayesha Nadeem in the 12th over and scored 64 for four.

Indian opener Shafali Verma also rolled her arm and got a wicket for a sharp return catch.

Pakistan tried but could not break free from the shackles and ended up with a low total.

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