Review | CWC 22 | M#4 - IND v PAK
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
India and Pakistan, the two teams who won both of their practice games were riding high on confidence before coming into this match. But playing in the World Cup is a completely different ball game.
The psychological edge that India had over Pakistan before the historic clash
India had won all the 10 previous encounters in ODIs against Pakistan including a 3-0 score-line in the World Cups. Even beyond this rivalry, India is a two-times finalist and one of those came in the very last edition in 2017. In the contrast, Pakistan hasn’t won a single game in the World Cup since 2009. But records come with the responsibility of maintaining them which leads to added pressure in the high-pressure games of the World Cup. In this respect, Pakistan had nothing to lose but an Indian side with such rich records in the past and with the expectations of billions back home, every game for them will be on the line.
The day owned by the left-armers
After winning the toss, India opted to bat first. Mithali Raj was the 1st captain to bat first after winning the toss in this World Cup so far. But Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof who had come back from her maternity leave after 2 years to lead the side in the World Cup, we have seen her intention to bowl first as well. And it was evident the way Pakistani bowling plans panned out in the match.
With pacer Diana Baig, she gave the new ball to left-arm orthodox Anam Amin who was the Player of the Match against India in the 2016 T20 WC game. She took the prized wicket of well-set Mandhana (52 off 75) in 24.1 and led a big collapse of 98-2 to 114-6. The other left-armer Nashra Sundhu who took a 4-fer in the 2017 India-Pakistan clash got rid of India’s two of the most important batters, Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma. Pakistan were well-drilled against the India batters and bowled according to their strengths and weaknesses. Not only there were good setups, but great match-ups as well between Raj and Sundhu, Mandhana and Baig.
But India were also not shy of using their best spinner, left-armer Gayakwad as well. Just after the powerplay, skipper Raj introduced her in the 11th over and she provided the breakthrough in her 1st over. She finished with 4-31 which was the 3rd best after her counterpart Ekta Bisht who took two 5-fers against Pakistan in the ODIs.
Vastrakar-Rana were the standout performers with the bat
From the 22nd over to 34th over, India lost 5 wickets and were reduced to 114-6. India’s designated all-rounders Pooja Vastrakar (67 off 59) and Sneh Rana (53 off 48) put up a record stand of 122 runs in 97 balls. One of the best things that India did with the selection today was to pick up Vastrakar over Poonam Yadav in the Playing-XI. It not only strengthened their pace bowling but proved as a blessing in disguise with their batting. India’s top and middle-order batters are comfortable in playing the pace bowlers, but the experienced domestic campaigner Vastrakar loves to play against spin and is one of the best batters in their line-up. It did seem that both Vastrakar and Rana channeled all their experience of playing a variety of spinners in the domestics for years against Pakistan. They took India to 244-7 which proved more than enough, eventually.
Healthy running between the wicket was a rarity throughout the game
India's top-order to the whole Pakistani batting line-up, all failed to rotate the strike throughout the game. This was primarily because of both the teams bowling accurate lines and the fielder backing them up well. The dot ball pressure made the batters depend more on the big shots that led them to play rash shots. The way Vastrakar and Rana pushed the fielders with their swift running between the wicket was missing throughout the game between every other batting pair.
Pakistan did not lose any wicket in the PP and were off to a safe start, but it was very sedate. This led to a lot of pressure as the asking rate kept climbing. India's field settings were very good throughout the game as the close-in fielders ensured that no easy singles were taken.