History has been made. Led by contributions throughout the line-up, Pakistan Women completed their first-ever whitewash against South Africa in T20 cricket.
With only two world-ranking places separating these two sides, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise. But with Pakistan’s last success against South Africa coming in 2015, some questions needed answering.
The two teams have only met three times in the past eight years with the Proteas winning the last two series, and neither team have secured a whitewash win.
It promised to be a closely run series. South Africa, missing some notable names from their losing World Cup final exploits in February, travelled to the sub-continent a little light, but with plenty of opportunity to impress.
The hosts, meanwhile, at full strength, were able to answer all of the challenges thrown at them.
The first fixture went down to the final ball with Tazmin Brits’ career-best 78 off 64 balls putting South Africa within touching distance of victory.
But with a fifth-wicket partnership of 43 runs and eight needed from the final, the Green Shirts completed the job.
Bruised and looking to bounce back, Laura Wolvaardt and Brits impressed looking to bounce back, but a lack of support through the line-up restricted the visitors to 150.
Momentum is a funny thing in cricket, and it was certainly in favour of Sidra Ameen. The Pakistan batter guided her team to a positive position with 61 off 44 balls, including five boundaries, before Muneeb Ali scored a quick-fire 54 off just 29 balls to secure to victory and with that the series.
The first two fixtures shone the light on Pakistan’s batters, however, it was the bowlers who steered the Green Shirts to the whitewash win.
Having been put in by South Africa, the hosts’ runs were shared across the middle order, posting 150.
Wolvaardt, again stood up, guiding her team close to the target with 72 off 53 balls, while wickets fell around her.
The opener finally departed in the 19th over, with Sadia Iqbal picking up the wicket, leaving the visitors requiring 18 off the last 9 balls.
It was tense, the pendulum swinging both ways, but fine death bowling from Pakistan their rivals to 144, seven runs short, with Iqbal and Sandhu finishing with two wickets a piece.
With 2024 around the corner, Pakistan visit Edgbaston on Saturday 11 May looking to carry their positive performances into their tour of England. If this series is anything to buy, it’s going to be a cracker.
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Edgbaston is set for another stunning summer of men’s and women’s international cricket with Pakistan and West Indies heading to Birmingham in 2024, plus the return of Finals Day.
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