• India ease past Windies, Pakistan crush Irish

    India took a step towards qualification for the semi-finals of the Women’s T20 World Cup while Pakistan notched their first win in emphatic style in a double-header in Cape Town on Wednesday.

    India gained their second successive win, beating the West Indies by six wickets at Newlands.

    Captain Harmanpreet Kaur said her team had achieved momentum in the tournament by playing with “calmness”.

    Pakistan crushed Ireland by 70 runs with left-handed opening batter and wicketkeeper Muneeba Ali hitting the first century of the tournament.

    India joined England at the top of Group 2. The two unbeaten sides meet in Gqeberha on Saturday.

    Pakistan kept their hopes alive in the same group. The margin of their win was a big boost to their net run rate, which is a deciding factor in the event of teams tying on points.

    “It was important for us to get two wins in the first two games but the way we played was more satisfying for me because we wanted to play with a little calmness and without putting any pressure on us,” said Kaur.

    Off-spinner Deepti Sharma set an Indian record and produced a match-changing spell of 3-15. She became the first Indian cricketer, man or woman, to take 100 wickets in T20Is

    Sharma took 3-15 as the West Indies were restricted to 118-6.

    “I had certain plans for the West Indian players and I applied them,” Sharma said after being named Player of the Match. “It’s a slightly turning wicket and it helps me a lot.”

    Kaur said the Indian players handled the pressure of expectation by Indian supporters by “staying in the present.”

    “We decide in the team meeting we don’t have to do anything new; we have to stick to what we know. If we play to our strength we will definitely get the result.”

    The bespectacled Muneeba made 102 in the later game as Pakistan’s total of 165-5 proved well beyond Ireland’s reach. She said encouragement from veteran Nida Dar during a century partnership helped her reach the milestone.

    Ireland were bowled out for 95, with left-arm spinner Nashra Sandhu claiming career-best figures of 4-18.

    The slightly-built Muneeba had not previously scored a half-century in 44 T20Is although she made an ODI hundred against the same opponents in Lahore last November.

    Ireland beat Pakistan 2-1 in a T20I series in Pakistan in November but were outplayed on Wednesday.

    “We have taken 10 wickets, so that’s pleasing,” said Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof. “But I still think we can get better in the next game.”

    Pakistan’s remaining matches are against the West Indies in Paarl on Sunday and England at Newlands on Tuesday.

    Apart from losing for the second match in a row, the West Indies had an injury scare when former captain Stafanie Taylor was stretchered off.

    Taylor, in her second match since suffering a back injury last September, top-scored with 42 but went down in pain after bending to field a ball during the Indian innings.

    Pakistan also had an injury concern when big-hitting batter Ayesha Naseem suffered what appeared to be a hamstring strain and had to leave the field after chasing a ball to the boundary.

    © Agence France-Presse

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    Simon Borchardt