Sidra, Sana star in Pakistan’s series-winning triumph

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By our correspondent

KARACHI: Sidra Amin continued with her blistering form as she hammered a superb 123 while pacer Fatima Sana took 4-26 to enable Pakistan seal the three-match ODI series with a game in hand when they demolished Sri Lanka by 73 runs here at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Sidra, who had hit 76 in the first match, did a glorious job by hammering her second hundred of her career to guide Pakistan to 253-2 in the allotted 50 overs.

Fatima Sana then did a nice job with the ball, especially in her second spell, to restrict Sri Lanka to 180-9.

After opting to bat first for the first time in the series when Bismah Maroof won the toss, Pakistan were lucky when Sri Lanka floored two catches earlier on in the innings which cost the visitors the match eventually.

Sidra was dropped by Hasini Perera off Oshadi Ranasinghe when she had yet opened her account while the other opener Muneeba Ali (56) was dropped by Kavisha Dilhari off her own bowling on 17.

Both the openers capitalised on the opportunities and went on to share a record 158 runs for the opening stand, surpassing the previous best opening stand of 96 from Javeria Khan and Nahida Khan.

Sidra, who played some superb strokes during her epic knock, slog-swept Kavisha for a glorious four to bring in her second century. Sidra, who beat her previous best of 104, smashed 11 fours from 150 balls before being dismissed towards the end of the innings by Kavisha. She brought in her fifty off 72 balls and her hundred came off 137 deliveries.

Muneeba, on the other hand, played a subdued role during the marathon partnership before falling soon after completing her fifty off 92 balls. She struck three fours in her 100-ball feat.

In the end skipper Bismah Maroof (36*) and Nida Dar (10*) did well to help Pakistan post a decent total on the low track.

Bismah also became the leading scorer of Pakistan in the ODI cricket when she reached 30 by displacing Javeria Khan from the summit.

Bismah’s aggregate total is 2891 in 117 matches while Javeria remains at No2 now with 2885 runs in 116 matches.

Oshadi (1-44) and Kavisha (1-43) were the successful bowlers.

Chasing a huge total Sri Lanka were never in the business and in the first half of their innings their batters mostly were content to go ahead with snail pace with the asking run-rate mounting swiftly.

Fatima Sana provided early breakthrough when she had Hasini for 14, held by Nida at mid-on. Nida then got rid of skipper Chamari Athapaththu (16) before Omaima Sohail getting rid of Hansima Karunaratne (27). Prasadani Weerakkody (20) then got run out to leave Sri Lanka at 90-4 in the 28th over.

At this stage Harshitha Madavi (41) and Kavisha Dilhari (32) shared 61 runs for the fifth wicket association but after Kavisha was sent back Sri Lanka lost their way completely. Omaima removed Kavisha while Harshitha got run out soon afterwards and Sri Lanka were restricted well behind the target.

Fatima Sana was ably backed by spinner Omaima Sohail with 2-35. Sidra was adjudged as player of the match. “The credit goes to the whole team as everyone chipped in. Sidra was simply brilliant,” Pakistan’s skipper Bismah Maroof said.

Sri Lanka’s skipper Chamari Athpaththu rued missed chances for the loss.

“We dropped a couple of catches and especially of Sidra who then batted really well,” Chamari said. The third and final game will be held on Sunday (tomorrow). Pakistan now lead 2-0 in the series which is also a part of the ICC Women Championship 2022-2025 cycle which is also a pathway for qualifying for the 2025 World Cup.

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