Fatima, Sidra, Bismah star in Pakistan’s huge win over Sri Lanka

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By our correspondent

KARACHI: Leggie Ghulam Fatima produced her career-best figures while Sidra Amin and skipper Bismah Maroof shared a record stand to enable Pakistan women cricket team to whip Sri Lanka by eight wickets in their opener of the three-match ODI series here at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Ghulam Fatima, who produced a few stunning deliveries which spun hugely, was the star performer as she picked 4-21 in her quota of ten overs to enable Pakistan to dismiss Sri Lanka for 169 in the 48th over.

Sidra (76) and Bismah (62*) then shared 143 for the second wicket partnership as Pakistan chased the target in 41.5 overs after losing just two wickets. Sidra-Bismah stand is a Pakistan record for the second wicket.

The previous highest second-wicket association was 133 between Javeria Khan and Nahida Khan that they scored against Ireland in Colombo in 2017.

Chasing a low total on a pitch which backed spinners, Pakistan lost Muneeba Ali (14) early when she was excellently held by Nilakshi de Silva off pacer Achini Kulasuriya in the eighth over when Pakistan were just 25 on the board.

Bismah joined Sidra and both kept their cool and completed superb fifties to give Pakistan lead in the series.

Sidra was bowled by Oshadi Ranasinghe when Pakistan needed just two runs to win. She reached her fourth fifty in her 46th match off 82 balls. She hit a few glorious strokes, especially on the off-side, which were treat to watch. Sidra smacked seven fours in her 119-ball knock.

Bismah was lucky to survive a close lbw appeal off the bowling of Sugandika when she was on 26. It appeared that it was a close decision but the umpire turned down the appeal.

Bismah reached the 16th fifty of her career when she took a single off Oshadi in the 36th over. She smacked five fours in her 101-ball unvanquished effort. Achini (1-13) and Oshadi (1-35) were the successful bowlers for the visitors.

After opting to bat for the fourth successive time during the tour, Sri Lanka had a brittle start when Hasini Perera (4) got run out as a result of a poor call from her skipper Chamari Athapaththu.

Left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal then removed Chamari for a 39-ball 25 and the visitors were 46-2 in the 15th over. Chamari hit one six and three fours in her knock.

In the next over, Ghulam Fatima got rid of Hansima Karunaratne (12). Stumper Prasadani Weerakkody (30) and Nilakshi de Silva (16) tried to revive the innings by sharing valuable 50 runs for the fourth wicket. Sadia broke the partnership by removing de Silva to leave Sri Lanka at 96-4 in the 30th over.

In the next over, Ghulam Fatima got rid of Prasadani and Oshadi (0) off two successive deliveries to add to the misery of Sri Lanka. Ghulam Fatima then had Ama Kanchana (3) to achieve her career-best figures. Sugandika Kumari (3) got run out before fast bowler Fatima Sana (2-24) had Inoka (10) and Achini (0) in one over to fold Sri Lanka.

Young Kavisha Dilhari played an anchor’s role in Sri Lanka’s innings. Kavisha chipped in with a 50-ball 49 to push Sri Lanka to a respectable total. She struck five fours and one glorious straight six. Ghulam Fatima was declared the player of the match.

“On this wicket we should have scored at least 220,” Sri Lanka skipper Chamari said.

Pakistan’s skipper Bismah Maroof was happy with the way her team has started the series. “It was a fine win. Sidra batted really well. We will try to win the next game also to win the series,” Bismah said. The next match will be held at the same venue on Friday (tomorrow).

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