Match Report – ENG-W vs PAK-W 1st T20I, May 11, 2024

England 163 for 6 (Knight 49, Gibson 41*, Jones 37, Waheeda 2-20, Sadia 2-30) beat Pakistan 110 (Sadaf 35, Glenn 4-12, Bell 3-22) by 53 runs

Jones and Knight rescued the hosts from 11 for 4 after 17 balls of the first T20I, in front of a crowd of 12, 241 at Edgbaston. A powerful 41 not out off just 21 deliveries from Dani Gibson helped lift England to 163 for 6, a total which had looked unlikely in the third over following a top-order collapse that will give England plenty to work on despite the result.
Glenn, playing her first match in an England shirt since she was concussed during the recent tour of New Zealand, kept Pakistan in check after they made a spirited start to the run-chase. She ended with 4 for 12 from her four overs, while seamer Lauren Bell took three and left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and off-spinner Charlie Dean took one wicket each.
Alice Capsey’s drop of the head said it all. The ball had barely reached its zenith and begun to fall into the hands of Sidra Ameen but she knew the outcome, and its implications. England were 11 for 3 just 2.1 overs into the match and there was worse to come. Maia Bouchier carried plenty of hope into the middle after staking her claim as opener with an excellent tour of New Zealand in March, with Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley overlooked for this series. Bouchier tucked Waheeda Akhtar’s third ball to the fine-leg boundary but plinked the very next delivery straight to Nida Dar at mid-off. Danni Wyatt then spooned Sadia Iqbal to mid-on and Capsey followed, leaving England in dire trouble.
England were without Nat Sciver-Brunt, who joined her team for the warm-up despite being ruled out on match eve to allow her to recover from a medical procedure. Her absence paved the way for Freya Kemp to walk in at No. 5, playing purely as a batter on her return from a back problem. But Kemp was part of terrible mix-up with Knight, who was unmoved as Kemp drilled an Akhtar delivery back towards the bowler and took off for a run, Akhtar throwing to wicketkeeper Muneeba Ali who whipped off the bails as Kemp retreated all too late.

At 11 for 4, still in just the third over, it fell to Knight and Jones to rebuild. Jones, playing her 100th T20I and at her home ground, survived a tough chance at point off Akhtar when she was on 2 and, by the time she drove Fatima Sana through midwicket for four, she and Knight had dragged England up to 29 for 4 at the end of the powerplay. Jones then rocked back and pulled Akhtar for four in the next over and back-to-back fours off Rameen Shamim from Knight, clearing extra cover and swept through square leg, suggested the home side’s recovery was on track. Knight missed a reverse off Dar and was struck on the back knee but managed to overturn her lbw dismissal when the ball was shown to have hit her outside the line of off stump.

Knight didn’t stop when wrist-spinner Tuba Hassan was introduced, thundering a drive over long-on while Jones pulled and swept Rameen for twin fours at the start of the next over, so that by the halfway point of the innings, England were 63 for 4. Jones had been excellent on the sweep but it proved her undoing when she top-edged a Sadia full toss to deep square leg, where Natalia Pervaiz took a cool-headed catch to end her innings on 37 from 27 balls.

Knight cleared the covers to bring up England’s 100 and she and Gibson added 41 runs together before Knight fell one run shy of her half-century, Tuba making the breakthrough as Knight skied the ball to Gull Feroza at mid-on. Ecclestone was put down on 11 by Gull at deep midwicket and Gibson struck Rameen’s next ball to the deep square leg boundary for her fourth four, with another to follow through extra cover in the same over as Gibson made her impact felt. She and Ecclestone put on an unbroken stand worth 44 for the seventh wicket.

Pakistan start chase brightly

Gull punished Bell’s low full toss down the ground for four in the first over and picked the gap beautifully through the covers for another boundary two balls later. Dean struck with her fourth ball when she trapped Sidra Ameen lbw. But Gibson conceded 21 runs off the next over as Sadaf Shamas picked off five boundaries with a combination of cover drives, a powerful shot over point, a flick past square leg and a cut to backward point.

Jones took a wonderful diving catch to her left to remove Gull via an inside-edge off Bell and she needed far less effort to gather Muneeba’s top edge as she attempted to reverse-sweep Glenn, leaving Pakistan 66 for 3 in the eighth over. Dar was still running a single as she called for a review of her lbw dismissal off Glenn, which was overturned as replays showed the ball came off her glove. Sadaf fell to an unnecessary run-out when Dar dabbed a Dean delivery to midwicket and set off for a single that wasn’t on. Capsey gathered and threw to Jones with Sadaf well short of her ground, prematurely ending a promising knock of 35 off 24.

From there, Pakistan’s pursuit fell apart. Dar’s slog-sweep off Glenn sailed towards Bouchier, who ran across from deep midwicket to make a difficult catch look effortless in front of a delighted Hollies stand. Pervaiz’s attempted late cut off Ecclestone ended with a faint edge landing in Jones’s gloves as Pakistan lost three wickets for six runs in the space of 10 balls. Bell took her second wicket when Rameem Shamim sent one high to deep midwicket as Wyatt ran a long way in to take a superb catch diving forwards. Glenn claimed two wickets in three balls when she had Tuba caught behind and bowled Akhtar with a beautiful leg-break. Bell claimed the last as Sadia was caught by Kemp to wrap up victory with 10 balls to spare.

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