KARACHI: Perhaps for the first time in Pakistan’s history, a world event led to the women’s cricket team getting more praise than their male counterparts. While the men plummeted to new lows in the recently concluded World T20 in India, the Girls in Green made the nation proud.
Before the tournament, both teams faced the same problem of not being able to play their practice games — with the girls getting no practice whatsoever, while the boys had just one warm-up under their belt due to the political tussle between the two governments.
Upon their return back home, Sana Mir, the leader of the ladies, commended her charges for a job well done in the face of adversity. “The Pakistan team did extremely well if we take into account that we couldn’t play a single practice game before starting our World T20 campaign,” said Sana. “It’s not easy to straight away start a big competition like the World T20 but our team was up for the fight and they showed that in the campaign as we won two and lost two.”
Their first clash was against the eventual winners West Indies and only a boundary proved to be the difference between the two sides as Pakistan lost by just four runs.
The build up to the competition and its end reflected how the Pakistan’s women team is getting better and closing the gap on the top teams. “There is definitely improvement shown by our side,” said Sana.
However, she is not keen to rest on her laurels and pointed out the areas that need improvement. “We lack consistency in our batting. We’ve improved our bowling, fielding but I still feel that our top four need to show consistency,” she said. “If you look at other top teams, their top-orders are solid and they get good starts which help them score 150-160 easily in T20Is. That is something that we need to learn to do.”
In their second Group B match, the girls defeated arch-rivals India on D/L method on the same day the men failed to end their World Cup jinx against India.
Then came an emphatic nine-wicket triumph over Bangladesh before a defeat to England ended their hopes of making the knockout stages.
But the win over India meant that the trip was deemed an overall success. “It was a real honour to beat the Indians considering they had scored 160 against Bangladesh, so to restrict them to a low total was a great satisfaction and then to win at their home ground was just unbelievable,” she added.
“It has been a very good campaign for Pakistan and there certainly are good signs for future. We need more backing from the board, we’ve got time before the next big competition and I think the new T20I captain will be able to build a solid team.”
Meanwhile, the team’s star batsman Javeria Khan, who has scored 1,602 runs in 65 ODIs, said it was disappointing to be ruled out of the competition after the first match when she was struck by a bouncer from West Indies’ Shamilia Connell.
“As a player you want to stay out there and help your team win,” she said. “I missed being part of the side against India and Bangladesh because that would have been amazing. It probably wasn’t my luck but the important thing is that Pakistan won. I’m recovering well and would be in action very soon.”