Tuba stars in Pakistan women’s big win over Sri Lanka

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Leg-spinner Tuba Hassan on Tuesday made a dream debut when she pulled off magical figures of 3-8 in her quota of four overs to guide Pakistan women cricket team to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their first game of the three-match T20I series here at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium.
Lahore-born Tuba ripped through Sri Lanka’s middle order after left-arm spinner Anam Amin (3-21) blew the top order to restrict the visitors to 106-8.
Nida Dar (36*) and skipper Bismah Maroof (28) then shared a crucial partnership as Pakistan raced to the target with ten balls to spare after losing four wickets.
After opting to bat first on a track which had little bit of turn on it, Sri Lanka’s top order tumbled. Anam removed openers Hasini Perera (4) and skipper Chamari Athapaththu (6) in her first two overs to give the hosts a huge edge on a hot day.
Harshita Madavi (25) and stumper Anushka Sanjeewani (16) tried to consolidate the innings and shared 38 for the third wicket stand. Tuba, who was introduced in the tenth over, broke the stand when she removed Anushka, before getting rid of Hershita and Kavisha (1) in her next two overs to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 64-5 in the 14th over. Tuba’s figures are the best ever from a Pakistani bowler on her T20I debut.
Hershita struck two fours in her 35-ball knock. Anam then had Oshadi Ranasinghe (4) in the next over to add to Sri Lanka’s miseries.
Nilakshi de Silva did well at this stage by scoring a 22-ball 25 before being bowled by pacer Aiman Anwar. Aiman (2-32 in 4 overs) then got rid of Ama Kanchana for a 17-ball 12 to restrict the visitors to a low total.
Set to score a slightly tricky target, Pakistan were at one stage 45-3 in the ninth over. However well-built Nida Dar (36*) and Bismah Maroof (28) put on 51 runs for the fourth wicket stand to set up the much-needed win.
Bismah, held by Chamari Athapaththu off Oshadi Ranasinghe, fell at a stage when she had put her side on the brink of a victory. Bismah, who looked elegant, smacked two fours in her 32-ball knock.
Pakistan needed seven off the last two overs. Nida smacked Oshadi for a glorious six off her first delivery of the penultimate over before taking a single off the next to make the hosts comfortably home.
Nida’s solid unvanquished knock featured one six and two fours. She faced 27 balls.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had a fine start with the ball when left-arm spinner Sugandika Kumari  removed debutant Gull Feroza (0) in her first over. Wicket-keeper batter Muneeba Ali (18) and Iram Javed (18) made a good effort to build the innings but they lost their wickets in regular intervals which put the whole burden on Bimash and Nida, who did a fine job to enable Pakistan go 1-0 up in the series.
Tuba was declared as player of the match. Tuba said she enjoyed her proud moment. “When you are going to debut you hope for the best and I also felt so. I really enjoyed all my three wickets,” Tuba said.
Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu said they should have scored 140 plus. “We had to score 140 plus because this wicket was really good but the thing is that Pakistani bowlers bowled well especially in the powerplay which changed the match,” Chamari said.
Asif Yaqoob and Faisal Afridi supervised the match. The second T20I between the two nations will be held at the same venue on Thursday (tomorrow).