Derby (UK), July 2: Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht picked up a five-wicket haul as India defeated arch rivals Pakistan by 95 runs in a group match of the Women’s cricket World Cup at the County Ground here on Sunday.
Electing to bat first, India produced 169/9. In reply, Pakistan were bundled out for 74 runs with Bisht doing most of the damage with figures of 5/18.
This was the third consecutive victory in this tournament for India. They had defeated hosts England by 35 runs in the opening match of their campaign before thrashing the West Indies by seven wickets.
Indian skipper Mithali Raj used her bowling changes well as the bowlers clinched breakthroughs at regular intervals. Bisht maitained a tight length which did not allow the Pakistan batters to open up their arms and score easily.
Medium-pacer Mansi Joshi also bowled economically, clinching two wickets while giving away just nine runs in her 6.1 overs.
Chasing a low-target of 170 runs, Pakistan failed to get going right from the start.
Ayesha Zafar was the first to go as she was trapped leg before by Bisht in the second over. Javeria Khan and Sidra Nawaz then departed in consecutive overs, with veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami and Bisht doing the honours.
When Bisht sent back Iram Javed in the seventh over, almost the entire Pakistan top order had returned to the pavilion with just 14 runs on the board.
Pakistan did not quite recover from those early blows and continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.
With the Indian bowlers maintaining a tight line on a slow pitch, the Pakistanis found it difficult to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Opener Nahida Khan was the only one in the Pakistan top order who showed some application and grit, battling her way to a patient 23 runs off 62 deliveries before being caught behind off Harmanpreet Kaur’s bowling.
Pakistan skipper Sana Mir also waged a heroic battle and was the highest scorer with 29 runs in an excruciatingly slow 73-ball innings.
The other Pakistanis failed to reach double figures as the Indians clinched a comfortable victory.
Earlier, India posted 169/9 after skipper Mithali decided to bat first after winning the toss.
Unlike in previous matches, the Indian batters gave a lacklustre performance which resulted in a low total.
The Indian eves started on a bad note as opener Smriti Mandhana (2) was sent back to the pavilion in the fourth over by Nashra Sandhu with just seven runs on the board.
But incoming batswoman Deepti Sharma (28) along with Punam Raut (47) stabilised the Indian innings. The duo forged a 76-run partnership for the second wicket before Raut was adjudged leg before off Diana Baig. Raut, in her 72-ball knock, slammed five boundaries.
New batswoman Mithali Raj (8) then arrived at the middle but failed to step up. After adding 19 runs with Deepti, Mithali was also dismissed by Sandhu in the 27th over.
Deepti, who seemed good at the crease, then felt the pressure at the other end and was sent packing in the same over by Sandhu.
With the scoreboard reading 94/4 in 27 overs, middle-order batswomen Harmanpreet Kaur (10) and Mona Meshram (6) also disappointed as they both fell prey to Sadia Yousuf inside three overs.
Lower-order players Sushma Verma (33) and Jhulan Goswami (14) tried to hold the innings together, but Sandhu wrapped up Goswami in the 47th over. Verma was also dismissed in the next over by Asmavia Iqbal.
Mansi Joshi (4 not out), Ekta Bisht (1), Poonam Yadav (6 not out) played as expected.
For Pakistan, Nashra Sandhu claimed four wickets and Sadia Yousuf two.
Brief scores: India 169/9 in 50 overs (Punam Raut 47, Deepti Sharma 28; Nashra Sandhu 4/26) vs Pakistan 74 in 38.1 overs (Nahida Khan 23, San Mir 29, Ekta Bisht 5/18, Mansi Joshi 2/9).