Pakistan whitewash women’s ODI series

SHARJAH: Javeria Khan’s maiden ODI century was the catalyst for Pakistan women completing their highest chase in ODI history. An unbeaten 133 off 141 balls helped hunt down the target of 243 with 16 balls and seven wickets to spare in Sharjah to complete a series whitewash.

She sounded intent with a couple of fours in the fourth over, and was aggressive in collecting singles and twos when the boundaries were sparse. The required run-rate was never allowed to breach five in the first 18 overs despite the loss of opener Marina Iqbal. And when it tipped to 5.17, Javeria struck twin fours in the 22nd over to bring up her fifty in 64 balls and take control again. Then came a middle-order wobble when Shashikala Siriwardene took two wickets in successive overs, including Bismah Maroof who had been party to a 65-run second-wicket stand with Javeria.

Pakistan were 118 for 3, with another 125 needed in the remaining 144 balls. Out walked captain Sana Mir, who struck a brisk half-century, and ended Sri Lanka’s hopes of a fightback. Javeria had begun their eventually unbeaten 127-run partnership with two fours in two overs and together they managed to keep a potentially tricky asking-rate in check. Fittingly, Javeria sealed the chase with her 12th four.

Sri Lanka might well have contemplated a consolation win after failing to overhaul a target of 139 in the previous ODI. Captain Chamari Atapattu struck 99 off 109 balls, with 10 fours and two sixes to give the structure they had lacked on Sunday. After a sedate start – 40 runs in 10 overs – she slammed medium-pacer Kainat Imtiaz for a four and six to start the 11th. Sadia Yousuf, the left-arm spinner, was launched over the midwicket boundary and then struck for successive fours through the covers in the 23rd over to further Sri Lanka’s momentum despite the loss of Prasadani Weerakkody for 32 in between.

Having kept a strike-rate of nearly a run-a-ball for a majority of her innings, Atapattu was caught by Javeria in the covers off seamer Asmavia Iqbal’s bowling in the 39th over and Dilani Manodara followed her captain inside in the next. Siriwardene produced a 28-ball 39 to lift Sri Lanka to 242, but it wasn’t quite enough to prevent a 3-0 scoreline.