© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Much like their male counterparts, the Pakistan women’s cricket team stumbled and crawled past controversies to survive another disappointing year in cricket. The team was hit with back-room politics, on-field failures and personnel in-fighting. Unlike the men, however, the women had little to write home about. Here is a recap.

ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 Qualifiers

Pakistan’s first objective in 2017 was to qualify for the Women’s World Cup in England.

They started the campaign with a loss against South Africa, which exposed a fragile batting order. In the following games they rose to the occasion and thrashed Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Scotland with ease. Players like Nahida Khan, Ayesha Zafar, Nain Abidi and Nashra Sandhu led from the front scoring big runs and pocketing heaps of wickets.

Pakistan proceeded into the Super Sixes stage, and were handed a narrow 5-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka. Ireland hardly posed a threat as Pakistan beat them by 86 runs.

Marquee Match against India

Pakistan then went head-to-head against arch rivals India. The most awaited cricket match in the Indian subcontinent turned out to be a squib. Ekta Bisht’s 5-wicket haul downed Pakistan for a mere 67, out of which 24 runs came as extras. India strolled to a 7-wicket win.

In the final game of the qualifier’s Pakistan beat West Indies and somehow managed to book a flight to England.

The beginning of the ‘debacle’

Led by Sana Mir, Pakistan went into the World Cup with a lot of hopes and aspirations. In their ranks were the likes of Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan, Nahida Khan and Nain Abidi to help groom youngsters.

In opening match against South Africa, Pakistan put up a great fight thanks to Nahida. They managed to stifle their opponent but could not deny a 3-wicket defeat.

Everything post the opening game went downhill for Sana’s side. They were handed thumping defeats by England, India, Australia and New Zealand. Their defeat at the hands of India was a painful one: they were bundled out for 74 in pursuit of 170.

Rain played spoilsport in their fight against West Indies. In a match that could have been a close one, Pakistan fell 19 runs short.

Pakistan could have had a solitary win against their name, but their temperament gave in. Chasing 222 to win against Sri Lanka, Pakistan suffered a middle-order collapse yet again to lose the match by 15 runs, thus ending a miserable outing in England.

The aftermath

The World Cup debacle meant the axe fell on Sana. A veteran of 102 ODIs was brutally blamed for the poor show in England. She went on a full-blown war with coach Sabih Azhar. Both PCB and Sana washed their tainted linen in public. Was Sana sacked or she resigned? A fact we might never unearth.

Historic Win

With Bismah replacing Sana, Pakistan took on New Zealand Women in their last international assignment of 2017. The first ODI came down to which side had the better nerves. Thanks to a more experienced bowling attack, New Zealand managed to outrun Pakistan by 8 runs. New Zealand won the second ODI easily as well, clinching the series.

Despite being sacked as skipper, Sana gave her level best for Pakistan and came out as a hero. Her 4-for restricted New Zealand to below 155 in the 3rd ODI. The chase was set-up by Bismah, who scored 39 off 69 deliveries. She, along with Sana, guided Pakistan to their first-ever ODI win over Kiwi women.

Landslide yet again

The T20Is fared a same look for the Pakistani women, but this time with an even more dreadful ending. They lost all 4 matches of the series. The only shining lights from this series for Pakistan were Nahida (202 runs) and Sadia Yousuf (10 wickets) across 7 games each.

Team Statistics:

Overall figures ODIs
Team Mat Won Lost Tied
Pakistan Women 15 3 12 0

 

Overall figures T20Is
Team Mat Won Lost Tied
Pakistan Women 4 0 4 0

 

Player statistics:

Top ODI run-scorers
Player M R Ave 100s 50s
Nahida Khan 15 488 32.53 0 4
Javeria Khan 14 385 32.08 0 4
Sana Mir 15 277 30.77 0 1

 

Top T20I run scorers
Player M R Ave 100s 50s
Nahida Khan 4 89 22.25 0 0
Javeria Khan 4 80 20.00 0 0
Sidra Ameen 4 68 22.66 0 0

 

Top ODI wicket takers
Player M W Ave Econ
Sana Mir 15 19 29.68 4.1
Nashra Sandhu 14 18 31.16 4.61
Sadia Yousuf 11 16 27.37 4.25

 

Top T20I wicket takers
Player M W Ave Econ
Sadia Yousuf 3 5 24.2 5.26
Javeria Khan 4 3 19.66 7.25
Aiman Anwer 4 3 27 6.23

With the World T20 scheduled for 2018, the past year would have opened a few sleeping minds indeed. Pakistan never had shortage of talent. However, their teams have fallen victim of unfair politics and favoritism in the system.

Going forward the side has a perfect mix of experience and youth that can propel them to newer heights if they are allowed to flourish.