Ireland captain gutted after Nashra Sandhu applies the squeeze

Ireland captain gutted after Nashra Sandhu applies the squeeze

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Only five times in 98 games has a bowler completed a four-over spell for Pakistan in Women’s T20Is and been more economical than Nashra Sandhu against Ireland. Sandhu finished with 2 for 8 from her four overs of left-arm spin as Pakistan beat Ireland by 38 runs to keep their hopes alive in the Women’s World T20.

Sandhu said the pitch was helpful, so she did not have to too do much to be effective. Her main focus, she said, was to watch the batsmen’s footwork closely and choose her lines and lengths accordingly.

“Conditions were good for us to bowl, for spin bowlers and fast bowlers too. Overall it was good,” Sandhu said after the match. “It was comfortable for us to like play on that pitch.

“[I] just had to bowl consistently on a better line. It gave me much benefit because it was a little bit turn in the pitch. Just nothing to do. Just have to bowl consistently on the better line and just to check the feet of the batters. Are they using their feet or [holding] position, using their crease or not.”

Sandhu, 20, said she gets constant advice from the experienced Sana Mir, as was the case in this game too. “She’s constantly guiding me in this tournament, but also previously in many tournaments. Like if I feel confused or when I’m under pressure, she always comes to me and says: ‘Don’t be too confused. You’re the best.’ I always feel very comfortable when she talks to me. She’s very good at doing this.”

Ireland captain gutted after Nashra Sandhu applies the squeeze
The Pakistan fielders celebrate a wicket Getty Images

Ireland captain Laura Delany admitted to being gutted about the loss. She said she was quietly confident of upsetting Pakistan in this game, so to lose by a margin of close to 40 runs was a big blow.

“I think it was a given coming into this tournament [we] have a tough group,” Delany said. “[But] Pakistan are closely ranked to ourselves [Pakistan are ranked seventh, to Ireland’s tenth], so that was the obvious target that we were going to go after.

“After beating Sri Lanka in such a convincing way [in a practice match], I thought Pakistan would be the next target for us. Obviously Australia first up, No. 1 in the world, was always going to be a tough challenge. So Pakistan was next on our list.

“So, incredibly frustrating, because if we were professional, I wonder what the score would’ve been out there today. To lose by 40 runs [when] we genuinely believed we could win, it’s very disappointing.”

Delany said her team let Pakistan get 10-20 runs over par and then played out too many dots, which cost them the game. “I think before we went out to the field we said 120, 130 would be par on this wicket, so [Pakistan made] a little bit more than what we hoped they would achieve,” she said. “I think going out into the batting innings we were still pretty confident with the line-up that we had, that if we executed our plans we would get the result we wanted.

“From a batting point of view, we need to look at our scoring-shot percentage. I think we faced way too many dot balls, and unfortunately ended up putting a lot of pressure on the middle-order batters.”

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