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CWG 2022 | Indian women bowlers shine as Birmingham gets taste of Indo-Pak rivalry

Compared to the women’s cricket opener between India and Australia, fans flocked to the 25,000 capacity stadium

Compared to the women’s cricket opener between India and Australia, fans flocked to the 25,000 capacity stadium

The India-Pakistan fixture of the Commonwealth Games lived up to the hype off the field with fans turning up in big numbers at Edgbaston but on it, it seemed headed towards a lopsided contest.

The rain threatened to play spoilsport in the most anticipated clash of the Commonwealth Games and intermittent showers meant the match start was delayed by 45 minutes with the game reduced to 18 overs a side.

Pakistan ended up with an underwhelming 99 all out.

Compared to the women’s cricket opener between India and Australia, fans flocked to the 25,000 capacity stadium though it did not seem like an absolute sell out.

The city is home to a large Indian and Pakistan diaspora but the former had a bigger presence in the stands with the Indian flags visible from all parts of the ground.

Dance numbers from Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh added to the atmosphere and it felt the game was taking place in Mohali and not in Birmingham.

Normally, one would have to pay a fortune for an Indo-Pak cricket game but the Sunday morning fixture provided a much cheaper alternative.

“I paid 20 pounds for the ticket. For a men’s game I might not even get it for 200 pounds. It feels lucky to be here,” said Rajeev Chauhan, who is a resident of Coventry.

India bowlers shine in powerplay again

The Indian fans certainly got their money’s worth in the first half of the game.

Renuka Singh, who bowled a dream spell in a losing cause against Australia, started with a rare maiden in the T20 format.

Three balls later Pakistan were one down with no runs on the board as pacer Meghna Singh induced an outside edge off opener Iram Javed’s bat with a ball that shaped away.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur went for the extra all-rounder in the playing eleven, bringing in Sneh Rana at the expense of spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Batter S Meghana, who joined the team late here due to COVID, was included in place of Harleen Deol.

Rana made instant impact by removing a well-set Muneeba Ali (32) and Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof (17).

Muneeba played some bold strokes in her 30-ball effort including a six with a slog sweep off Meghna. Maroof perished while trying to sweep while Muneeba got beaten by the flight and offered a catch back to Rana.

Renuka made it 64 for four in the 12th over by getting rid of Ayesha Nadeem.

Even India opener Shafali Verma rolled her arm over and got a wicket of a sharp return catch.

Pakistan tried but were not able to break free from the shackles and ended up with a below par total. PTI BS ATK ATK

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