John Cowpland/Photosport via AP
Nida Dar of Pakistan took four wickets against the West Indies in Hamilton on Monday night. (FILE PHOTO)
Pakistan have grabbed their first World Cup victory of the tournament, and in doing so have made qualifying for the semifinals much tougher for the West Indies.
In a weather-affected 20 overs apiece game in Hamilton on Monday, Pakistan triumphed by eight wickets with seven balls remaining under lights at Seddon Park.
The bottom-placed side in the competition stunned their third-placed opponents in a game which seemed highly unlikely to take place for much of the day after heavy rain in Hamilton until midday.
Batting first after Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof won the toss and opted to bowl as expected, the West Indies struggled all the way to 89-7 in 20 overs, with Pakistan’s spin bowlers capturing all seven wickets.
In reply, Pakistan outplayed a dispirited opposition side to score their first World Cup win since 2009, making 90-2 in 18.5 overs.
The result hugely boosted South Africa’s already decent chances of making the semifinals, would have delighted India and England and also gave New Zealand a little added hope.
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After dramatically scraping past Bangladesh in Mount Maunganui last week, the West Indies batters again were woeful against spin, once opener Deandra Dottin fell for a hit-and-miss 27 off 35 balls.
Pakistan, without a win in the 2022 tournament in four games after blowing a big opportunity against Bangladesh, got a key contribution from opener Muneeba Ali, in her first match of the tournament, making 37 off 43 balls.
The Windies now have six points from six games, with their last round-robin match against South Africa in Wellington on Thursday, with a win now looking essential for the side which upset NZ and England in their first two games to make the semifinals.
The big moment
Dottin can be incredibly block-bash, but it wouldn’t have needed much more bashing to make it a far tougher task for a Pakistan team which has struggled desperately to score runs quickly.
Instead, Nida Dar removed the opener caught and bowled with the first ball of the 10th over and first of her spell.
Best with the bat
Muneeba Ali hadn’t featured in Pakistan’s first four games but may have been promoted from the reserves to improve their run-rate at the top of the order.
She did enough on a track which saw all batters struggle, striking five fours and batting through to the 13th over to settle her team’s nerves.
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Best with the ball
The Seddon Park wicket offered plenty of assistance for the spinners, which suited the underdogs perfectly. Offspinner Nida Dar wasn’t finished after she dismissed Dottin – she baffled everyone she faced, capturing a career-best 4-10 off four overs to swing the match in Pakistan’s favour.
The big picture
It’s becoming impossible to make scenarios with any certainty in this tournament, but the West Indies now somehow have to halt a rapid form slump by beating the currently undefeated South Africa or miss out on the last four.
Pakistan could turn the tournament completely on its head with a win versus England in Christchurch on Thursday.
At Seddon Park, Hamilton: West Indies 89-7 off 20 overs (Deandra Dottin 27; Nida Dar 4-10) lost to Pakistan 90-2 in 18.5 overs (Muneeba Ali 37) by eight wickets.
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