Fatima Sana’s all-round performance in vain as New Zealand win a thriller

 New Zealand defeated Pakistan in a thrilling contest by one wicket at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday evening, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. The ODIs are part of the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25. The third game of the series will be played at the same venue on Monday, 18 December, with the first ball to be bowled at 2 pm local time.

Chasing a target of 221 runs to win, New Zealand women’s team, also known as White Ferns, lost two wickets for 13 runs due to brilliant bowling from captain Fatima Sana, leading her side for the first time in the absence of regular captain Nida Dar. Nida was ruled out from today’s game after being hit on her face in the first ODI and experiencing symptoms of concussion.

At 13 for two in 2.4 overs, Suzie Bates and Maddy Green got together and added a 142-run partnership for the third wicket. Leg-spinner Ghulam Fatima, playing her second match on the tour, broke the partnership and went on to clinch three more wickets, putting White Ferns on the backfoot. Ghulam Fatima ended up with match figures of four for 47 in 10 overs, increasing her tally of wickets in the ICC Women’s Championship to 16.

White Ferns had lost seven wickets for 53 runs and were still 13 runs shy of the target when Lea Tahuhu (21 not out, 26b, 1×4) and Fran Jonas (five not out, nine balls) got together. Both batters added an undefeated 13-run partnership for the final wicket, helping their side achieve the target in 48.5 overs.

Earlier, Pakistan were reeling at 35 for four in 12 overs after being put into bat first, with the last match centurion Sidra Amin getting out for 12 off 25 balls. Natalia Parvaiz and Fatima got together and knitted a 90-run partnership for the fifth wicket. After the departure of Natalia (39, 73b, 3x4s), wicketkeeper-batter Najiha Alvi joined Fatima in the middle, and the pair stitched a 65-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Right-handed batter Najiha scored a 38-ball 32, which included three fours.

Twenty-two-year-old Fatima, who became the 10th ODI captain to lead Pakistan women’s team, led from the front and scored her second half-century in her 34th ODI. Fatima’s unbeaten 90 off 104 – also her highest score in this format – included seven fours and a six. Her innings helped the touring side post 220 all out in 50 overs.

For White Ferns, captain Sophie Devine bagged three wickets for 25 runs and also completed her 100 ODI wickets. Molly Penfold and Jonas each took two wickets.

Scores in brief:

New Zealand women beat Pakistan women by one wicket

Pakistan 220 all out, 50 overs (Fatima Sana 90 not out, Natalia Parvaiz 39, Najiha Alvi 32; Sophie Devine 3-25, Fran Jonas 2-36, Molly Penfold 2-43)

New Zealand 221-9, 48.5 overs (Maddy Green 83, Suzie Bates 74, Lea Tahuhu 21 not out; Ghulam Fatima 4-47, Fatima Sana 2-52)

Player of the match – Maddy Green (New Zealand)

Series schedule:

3 Dec – 1st T20I, Dunedin (Pakistan women beat New Zealand women by seven wickets)

5 Dec – 2nd T20I, Dunedin (Pakistan women beat New Zealand women by 10 runs)

9 Dec – 3rd T20I, Queenstown (New Zealand women beat Pakistan women by six runs on DLS)

12 Dec – 1st ODI, Queenstown (New Zealand women beat Pakistan women by 131 runs)

15 Dec – 2nd ODI, Christchurch (New Zealand women beat Pakistan women by one wicket)

18 Dec – 3rd ODI, Christchurch (2pm local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)

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