Pakistan 165 for 5 (Muneeba 102, Dar 33, Kelly 2-27) beat Ireland 95 (Prendergast 31, Richardson 28, Sandhu 4-18) by 70 runs
Fluent Muneeba puts on a show
Muneeba was hailed as a prodigy ever since her T20I bow in 2016 but for a long time she only showed glimpses of her talent. Ireland, and many of those who watched her on Wednesday, saw the best of the Pakistan opener as she pummelled the bowlers around. Her intent – be it in finding boundaries or even in running between the wickets – was there for everyone to see.
Those dismissals had scant effect on Muneeba, who took particular liking to Leah Paul’s left-arm spin. In all, she scored 23 off the 15 balls she faced from Paul, using her feet to make room and go over the off side when four fielders were stationed deep on the on side. She brought up her fifty off 40 balls and took a further 26 balls only to bring up triple figures. She fell in the last ball of the penultimate over but not before making 102 off 68 balls.
Dar makes her presence felt
For a change, Dar had a different role to play with the bat. Often walking out as Pakistan’s rescuer, she found herself in the middle in the eighth over when Pakistan were 55 for 2. But an on-song Muneeba made her task easy and, for a change, she could take a back seat.
Ireland stifled with turn
Ireland’s hopes of an unlikely chase hinged on at least two of the top three. Gaby Lewis struck left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal for a crisp drive over mid-off but was undone by Dar’s smarts with the ball. After firing four deliveries through, Dar slowed one and dragged her length slightly back, and Lewis reached out for the drive and inside-edged it to the wicketkeeper.
Sandhu then ran through the middle order, staving off and dismissing Eimear Richardson who had raced to 28 off 17, to finish with her career-best 4 for 18. In all, Pakistan’s spinners claimed nine of the ten wickets to open their tournament account in style.