COLOMBO: Pakistan kept up their winning run in Sri Lanka, following up their 3-0 win in the ICC Women’s Championship one-day international series with a one-wicket win with one ball left in the first of three Twenty20 Internationals on Wednesday.
Asked to bat first, Sri Lanka finished at 124/6, Anushka Sanjeewai, the opener, and Nilakshi de Silva, the No.7, doing most of the scoring. Pakistan’s reply seemed to be on track for the longest time, but they went from 79/2 in the 12th over to 127/9 at the start of the final over before going over the line.
Sugandika Kumari and Oshadi Ranasinghe singed Pakistan early with the scalps of Nahida Khan (2) and Natalia Pervaiz (4), but Pakistan moved well in front with a 60-run stand for the third wicket between the experienced and in-form Bismah Maroof, the captain, and Javeria Khan.
They moved quickly, the 60 runs coming in under eight overs, before Maroof was run out for 42, scored off 31 balls with six boundaries.
Pakistan lost a clutch of wickets in a hurry after that as Sri Lanka clawed back – Nida Dar (1) and Kainat Imtiaz (5) were dismissed to leave Pakistan at 96/5, which became 121/6 when Khan was trapped lbw by Kumari. Khan’s 52, the best of the innings, came off 36 balls, and included eight fours.
The target, though, was within striking distance by then, and between them, Sana Mir (9), Fareeha Mehmood (2) and Diana Baig (2*) took Pakistan close before Ghulam Fatima, the No.11, hit a four off Ama Kanchana to seal the win.
Earlier, Sanjeewani was the lone bright spot in a rickety Sri Lankan batting order.
Chamari Athapaththu (10), Hasini Perera (0), Imalka Mendis (0), Rebecca Vandort (5) and Shashikala Siriwardena (2) were all back in the hut by the ninth over with Sri Lanka reaching 38/5.
But de Silva gave Sanjeewani the support she needed with a good 34-ball 35*, with two fours, as the opening batter stroked her way to her best score in 14 international appearances – 61 from 58 balls, with eight fours – before being dismissed in the final over.
For Pakistan, Baig (2/18) and Mir (2/25) were the most successful bowlers.
The second game of the series will be played on Friday.