The ICC Women’s World Cup is at the business end of the tournament. All of the top ranked nations are through with the exception of Sri Lanka who lost their place in the Super 6’s to the plucky little Pakistanis. England are flying and look like the team to beat with Australia struggling for form.
After a turbulent week in the office dealing with unhappy clients, plunging bottom lines and my own 10% salary reduction I was looking forward to heading out to Drummoyne Oval to see the West Indies take on Pakistan.
Unfortunately I missed the early clatter of West Indian wickets. The geniuses at the Sydney City Council forgot to erect any signs advising drivers that the city streets would be full of seamen from the Australian Navy. I’d hate to be on the crew cleaning up after that parade.
When finally arrived at the ground 25 minutes after play had begun the Pakistani opening bowlers had struck 3 times after Urooj Khan, the Pakistani captain and love child of Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto (unconfirmed) won the toss and sent the West Indians into bat in overcast conditions.
Not long after I arrived the baby face assassin Alamas Akram had struck for the 3rd time. The left arm medium pacer had made good use of the conditions leaving the West Indians top order in tatters at 4 for 24.
I’m not sure if it was what Sherwin Campbell, West Indian coach and 52 test veteran was saying, “Run and slide”, “Come on play safe”, “Got to get forward”, “Lots of space”, “Long-on singles”, maybe it was more his deep, cool, laid back dulcitones wafting across the Drummoyne oval that relaxed his opener, Stephanie Taylor who began to slowly turn her sides fortune around.
Without Taylor’s patient innings of 55 off 115 balls the West Indies would have been sunk. The only other contributor of note was Deandra Dottin who’s total of 23 off 32 included a beautifully struck shot over mid-on for 4.
Throughout their innings the West Indians seemed hell bent on running each other out. Amazingly only two of their wickets fell to run outs.
At the end of their 50 over’s the West Indies had compiled a score of 9 for 132. While 20 runs less than what they would have wanted it was competitive tally against an inexperienced Pakistani line up.
The Pakistanis got off to a slow but steady start and after 19 over’s were 1 for 36. But with some tight bowling, the West Indies began to work their way back into the game, taking regular wickets and slowing the run rate to 1.8 runs an over.
With her side again starting to look like the Petersham Under 12’s at 5 for 55, captain, Urooj Khan combined with Armaan Khan for a 61 run partnership that swung the game. Armaan was in great form and hitting the ball sweetly, reaching the boundary 5 times including 2 crunching sixes.
One thing that surprised me during the game was the use of bandanas by players under their batting helmets. The first player I noticed was Stephanie Taylor from the West Indies who had an army camouflage bandana, a little strange, but not out of the ordinary. What was completely out of the ordinary was the bandana being worn by player of the match Almas Akram. Her bandana was in the form of the “Stars & Stripes”. The last time I saw a Pakistani with the piece of cloth resembling the stars & stripes they also had a lighter and an effigy of George.W.Bush.
With only 17 runs needed off 6 over’s Urooj threw away her wicket with a missed timed pull shot. But it wasn’t enough to stop Pakistan from causing one of the upsets of the tournament beating the West Indies by 4 wickets with Armaan hitting the winning runs and taking her tally to 43 not out.
The West Indies face England in their next game and a disappointed Sherwin Campbell indicated at the end of the game that some new players would be brought into the side.
Pakistan will be looking forward to taking on the defending champions, Australia on Monday in Bankstown. Player of the match Almas Akram was very happy with her performance and said “Yes this one is the best performance of my career”.