Sana Mir's Pakistan Women won against India Women by 2 runs due to D/L method © Getty Images
Sana Mir’s Pakistan Women won against India Women by 2 runs due to D/L method © Getty Images

Sana Mir and her team were up against a rampant side. Sana Mir’s team lost their first match. Sana Mir’s Pakistan Women lost Javeria Khan as well, in the previous match against West Indies Women, when a snorter broke her thumb before smashing into her ears. When Sana Mir went out to toss, Javeria Khan was in a hospital in Chennai. She was probably there when Sana Mir and her girls celebrated their victory, punching the air in jubilation with the small group of fans. Javeria had to replaced by Nahida Khan at the top. FULL BLOG UPDATES: India Women vs Pakistan Women, T20 Women’s World Cup 2016, Match 7 at Delhi

Sana’s logic at the toss was sound: it did not look seem that the pitch would deteriorate, so why not know the target beforehand?

The plan was simple. In fact, it was so simple that it was almost remarkable. Sana included five spinners in the side: left-arm spinners Anam Amin and Sadia Yousuf; off-spinners Nida Dar and Sana herself; and leg-spinner Bismah Maroof. The only seamer, Asmavia Iqbal, bowled slow-medium.

That was part of the plan, but it was also about how they were asked to bowl. They bowled straight, very slow, and pitched up. Feroz Shah Kotla is not a huge ground, but the ropes were not drawn inside for the women’s match. The ground size was normal. READ: ICC Women’s World T20 2016: Mithali Raj blames India’s failures in powerplays for defeat to Pakistan

Sana had her six-pronged army of slow-bowlers. The team knew where to bowl, and at what pace. Field-placements were the next cog of the plan: you have slow bowlers, and you ask them to bowl as slow, as straight, and as pitched-up as possible. In other words, you force the opposition to drive. And once she knew she had almost convinced the Indian batters to drive, all she had to do was to stack up fielders inside the V, not allowing singles throughout the innings and not allowing anything more than singles when India tried to break the shackles in the end overs.

Team selection: check; instructing the bowlers, check; putting fielders in the right positions, check; and the Indian stars fell, one by one, succumbing to the Pakistan stranglehold: a frustrated Vanitha VR tried to loft Anam over mid-wicket and was tricked in length; Smriti Mandhana fell early, trying to play across the line, away from the V; Mithali Raj, frustrated after being bogged down for what seemed like an eternity, could not resist hitting a full-toss and holed out to deep mid-wicket; and Harmanpreet Kaur holed out to long-off. READ: Pakistan edge India by 2 runs according to D/L method in Group B match of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup at Delhi

Against Bangladesh Women, Veda Krishnamurthy had demonstrated she could hit big. Here, too, she showed urgency, but Sana took care of her, catching her off her own bowling. Both Anuja Patil and Jhulan Goswami were run out. The wagon wheel revealed the Indians playing down the track throughout the end-overs. Not a single four was scored in the last five overs. A single four would have won them the match.

Only Shikha Pandey decided to do something different, taking on Asmavia, paddle-sweeping her into the stands. Unfortunately, it was the penultimate ball of the Indian innings, and Indian Women should have tried their sweeps and paddle-sweeps and similar across-the-line strokes earlier in the innings.

All they did was play into Sana Mir’s hands, and Pakistan Women accepted it gleefully, bowling straight, full, and slow, watching their Indian counterparts amble to 96 for 7. It was, like New Zealand’s win over India (in men’s cricket), a strategic victory more than anything else.

Do not be surprised if they knock one of the bigger teams out of the tournament.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor at CricketCountry and CricLife. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)