Photo Credit: ICC
Virat Kohli’s MCG heroics helped inspire India’s thrilling win over Pakistan at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, admits matchwinner Jemimah Rodrigues.
Rodrigues blasted a brilliant 53 not out off 38 deliveries to steer her side to a memorable seven-wicket win in Cape Town.
And those exploits saw her emulate Kohli’s similarly decisive innings against the same opponent in the men’s competition last year, anchoring India to a heart-thumping four-wicket triumph with a stunning 82 not out off 53 balls in Melbourne.
Rodrigues says playing against Pakistan injected an extra edge to their Group B showdown and memories of watching Kohli helped haul India over the line.
The 22-year-old said: “India vs Pakistan matches are always a little bit more special – we spoke about it in the team meeting.
“Growing up we always watched these matches. I remember watching the match at the MCG where Virat Kohli played such an extraordinary knock.
“We did speak about it but we also just wanted to go out there and put our first win on the board.
“We just wanted to go out, play the same cricket and with the same intensity as usual.
“I knew we had to build partnerships, and I knew if we took it deep we will win.
“We knew they would bowl a bad ball eventually and we would capitalise – it was a difficult wicket but being set helped.
“This was a team effort. We will let the win sink in, but the tournament has just begun.
“We want to do the simple things correctly and then the results will take care of themselves.”
Rodrigues came into the tournament off the back of a barren run of form but, accompanied by wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh (31 not out), laid those demons to rest in style on Sunday.
She had notched just a solitary score of over 30 in her last 10 international T20 innings but bounced back when it mattered against her nation’s historic rivals.
She added: “This innings means a lot to me – I hadn’t been getting scores for a long time.
“As a batter when you’re not getting scores, it’s definitely not an enjoyable time.
“I was working really hard in the nets, I knew I was ticking all the boxes, putting in the effort and going to the gym.
“It was very tough but when it mattered the most, it came, so it was very special for me.”
Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof’s 68 not out helped guide her side to a competitive 149 for four after winning the toss in Cape Town.
Ayesha Naseem also struck an eye-catching 43 off 25 balls as spinner Radha Yadav (2/21) starred with the ball for India.
Nashra Sandhu’s similarly economical four overs of left-arm spin (2/15) looked to put Pakistan in pole position for victory when Ghosh joined Rodrigues at the crease.
But the dynamic duo blasted a combined 27 runs from the 17th and 18th overs as Rodrigues helped lead them to an opening game victory.
Bismah said: “We played very good cricket throughout the match. There were errors in our bowling, but overall it was a good match.
“We were good at many times, but we did make some mistakes as a bowling unit.
“There are lots of learnings and we’re planning to be better next game.
“The roles we have given to the girls, they played well. The role Ayesha had was crucial at the time.
“It was very loud and fun to play in front of that crowd – I really enjoyed it.
“The last five or six overs we gave them a few too many runs and boundaries at the wrong time.”