Muneeba Ali became Pakistan’s first centurion in women’s T20Is as she starred in her team’s emphatic 70-run victory against Ireland in the second T20 World Cup match in Cape Town on Wednesday (February 15). Muneeba’s 102 off 68 included 14 fours and was complemented by Nida Dar’s 33 as they put on a stand of 101 off 67 deliveries for the third wicket to power Pakistan to 165/5. In reply, Ireland were skittled out for 95, with Nashra Sandhu picking up 4 for 18, delivering Pakistan’s first win in this World Cup.
Having been asked to bat, Pakistan raced away in the powerplay thanks to Muneeba finding the fence in each of the first five overs. Javeria Khan, on the other hand, struggled to get going and was eventually run out for 6 off 13 as Pakistan finished the powerplay with 45/1. Bismah Maroof had a short stay, chipping a Laura Delany delivery to Arlene Kelly at mid on and the Pakistan captain wasn’t happy with the third umpire’s decision that the catch was clean. Meanwhile, Muneeba continued to find the boundaries as Pakistan moved to 71/2 at the halfway stage.
Muneeba, who registered her maiden fifty-plus score in T20Is, struck two fours off Delany in the 14th over while Dar cleared the fence off Cara Murray. Kelly was also hit for a couple of boundaries in the 16th by Muneeba, who reached three figures with a four off Leah Paul in the 19th over, bringing up a 66-ball ton. However, she fell soon after while Dar was also dismissed in the final over. Ayesha Naseem’s six helped Pakistan past 160 before she fell off the final ball to Kelly.
Ireland suffered an early setback in the chase as Amy Hunter fell to Fatima Sana, miscuing a catch to mid on. Orla Prendergast provided the tempo with two fours and a six off Sana in the fourth over. But Gaby Lewis fell in the next over to Dar, getting an inside edge to ‘keeper Muneeba who took a sharp catch, with the bowler also delivering a maiden. Aiman Anwer kept it to 7 in the final over of the powerplay, leaving Ireland at 39/2. Prendergast took on Sandhu, scoring two successive fours but the bowler had the last laugh as the Ireland No. 3 got a top edge off a pull.
With a couple of quiet overs, Ireland were struggling at 58/3 at the end of the 10th over as the required rate climbed to 10.8. To add to their troubles, Delany fell to Tuba Hassan, while Louise Little was stumped off Sandhu. Eimear Richardson tried to keep the fight on as she struck five fours in the first 11 balls she faced. But Sandhu ended her stay and also picked up the wicket of Mary Waldron to leave Ireland at 89/7. The tail did not offer much resistance as Sadia Iqbal and Dar finished with two wickets apiece to bowl Ireland out.
Brief scores: Pakistan 165/5 in 20 overs (Muneeba Ali 102, Nida Dar 33; Arlene Kelly 2-27) beat Ireland 95 in 16.3 overs (Orla Prendergast 31; Nashra Sandhu 4-18, Nida Dar 2-5) by 70 runs.