Indian players I AFP
Mount Maunganui: India produced an all-round effort to cruise to a 107-run win against Pakistan and begin their ICC Women's World Cup campaign on a positive note here on Sunday.
Half-centuries by Pooja Vastrakar (67), Smriti Mandhana (52) and Sneh Rana (53 not out) helped India post a tricky 244 for seven after the team opted to bat. The Indian bowlers, led by left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (4/31), then dismissed Pakistan for 137 in 43 overs.
Earlier, Pooja Vastrakar (67 off 59), Sneh Rana (53 not out off 48) and Smriti Mandhana (52 off 75) gave India a score of 244/7 against arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening match of the 2022 ICC Women's World Cup at the Bay Oval, here on Sunday.
Apart from Vastrakar, Rana and Mandhana, all-rounder Deepti Sharma also played a valuable knock (40 off 57) and helped India post a challenging target.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, India were off to a poor start as opener Shafali Verma (0) was dismissed by Pakistan seamer Diana Baig in the third over. However, Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma stitched a partnership of 92 runs for the second wicket and helped India build a strong foundation.
Things were looking good for India before Nashra Sandhu's dismissal of Deepti in the 22nd overs opened the corridors for Pakistan to make a strong return.
Pakistan took five quick wickets of Deepti Sharma (40), Smriti Mandhana (52), Harmanpreet Kaur (5), Richa Ghosh (1) and Mithali Raj (9) to destabilize the Indian innings. At 114/6 in 33.1 overs, India were in deep trouble, leaving them with plenty of work to do.
From there on, Pooja Vastrakar (67) and Sneh Rana (53 not out) put on a game-changing 122-run stand for the seventh wicket to revive India. The duo bailed India out of trouble and propelled their team to a competitive score of 244/7 in 50 overs.
During the process, Vastrakar and Rana also shattered records. The duo now holds the record for the highest partnership for the seventh wicket in the women's world cups. Overall, it was an innings of two halves.
Pakistan bowled superbly in the 35 overs before Vastrakar and Rana's partnership took the game away from them.
Pakistan will have to achieve their highest score ever if they are to record their first-ever World Cup win over India.
Brief scores: India Women 244/7 in 50 overs (Pooja Vastrakar 67, Sneh Rana 53 not out; Nashra Sandhu 2/36) vs Pakistan. (PTI/IANS inputs)