Photo Credit: ICC
Muneeba Ali revealed she remained calm and collected in the middle during her star innings in Pakistan’s 70-run win over Ireland.
The wicketkeeper-batter scored a maiden century to guide Pakistan to 165 for five before taking a catch and a stumping as Ireland fell short in search of a first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup win.
For Muneeba, her approach at Newlands was all about following the plan and nothing about nerves.
“I wasn’t nervous because we were looking for a big total,” the 25-year-old said. “I just had to keep on playing and keep on doing what we were doing.
“So I wasn’t nervous, but I am glad to have a hundred.
“I wasn’t concerned when I was dropped because our plan was to keep on playing the way we wanted to play no matter what happened.
“So, if I got out then I got out, it would not have mattered.”
Muneeba put on 101 runs with Nida Dar following the dismissal of captain Bismah Maroof for just four, and brought up her 50 from 40 balls.
Her hundred came in the 19th over, reaching the milestone from just 66 balls, as she became the first wicketkeeper to score a hundred in an ICC T20 World Cup, men’s or women’s, and posted the highest score by a Pakistani women in a T20 international.
The centurion was dismissed by Leah Paul for 102 before Nida departed, having made 33 from 28 to set Ireland 166 to win.
Muneeba also played a key role during Ireland’s innings behind the stumps, catching Gaby Lewis and then stumping Louise Little, who had twice dropped Muneeba during her own innings.
The player of the match added: “Initially I got a start in the power play then Nida and I were just building up a partnership.
“It was in the 12th and 13th over that I realised that we could go big and also that I could make a hundred, so we were just pushing ourselves and keeping on trying to hit a boundary and singles.”
Arlene Kelly was left wondering what could have been as she admitted her Ireland side were not up to scratch in Cape Town.
Kelly, who chose to bowl first, was one of eight batters to make single figures scores, with only Orla Prendergast (31) and Eimear Richardson (28) making more than 10 runs.
Nashru Sundhu took her best figures of four for 18 as Pakistan completed the victory with 21 balls to spare.
“To be honest, we probably weren’t on the ball today,” the all-rounder said.
“They did put on a strong performance, but they still gave us chances and we weren’t able to take those.
“Today, we were two sides of the wicket, we would string together a couple of dot balls, but then give a loosener which Muneeba was able to make the most of.
“It was an exceptional innings, difficult to be on the other end of it, but from a spectacle that was outstanding.”