Sana Mir and Nida Dar trample South Africa women
Pakistan women 120 for 3 (Dar 53, Maroof 53*) beat South Africa women 119 for 7 (Tryon 43, Mir 3-14, Dar 2-30) by seven wickets
Captain Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar both struck fifties as Pakistan stormed to a seven-wicket win over South Africa in the first T20I in Pretoria. After Sana Mir's 3 for 14 helped restrict the hosts to 119 for 7, Maroof and Dar shared an 89-run third-wicket stand to guide Pakistan's chase. Dar fell moments before the result was sealed but she scooped up the Player of the Match award for her part in helping Pakistan to a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, Maroof remaining unbeaten on 53.
Pakistan lost Javeria Rauf in the first over of their chase but Maroof walked in at No. 3 and calmed any early jitters with a brace of boundaries in the third over, the second via a particularly sweet pull to the square leg boundary. Maroof and Umaima Sohail ticked through the Powerplay at close to a run a ball, with Sohail spanking six off a Marizanne Kapp full toss before she was dismissed by medium pacer Tumi Sekhukhune.
But Maroof found an able partner in Dar, who laced the second legitimate delivery she faced to the cover boundary and continued in cruise control as South Africa struggled to break through. Having seen off the hosts' vaunted pace attack, Maroof and Dar set to work on the spinners, with Maroof sweeping Sune Luus' first ball to the backward square leg boundary and Dar swiping two more fours in the legspinner's next over.
Maroof was first into the forties, but Dar accelerated past her to reach fifty first with a swatted six over extra cover. Having got to the brink of victory, Pakistan made slightly heavy weather of the final push, with Dar bowled for 53 having a swipe at Klaas with just two runs needed. Iram Javed played out the wicket maiden and, after Maroof handed her the strike at the start of the 18th over, tapped away four dot balls before a quick single sealed the result.
Dar had also played a crucial part with the ball, her 2 for 30 complementing Mir's efforts as Pakistan's two leading wicket-takers in this format shared five wickets to hinder South Africa's efforts. Mir struck twice in the very first over, trapping Lizelle Lee in front of her stumps and then finding Tazmin Brits' outside edge.
They also lost Kapp inside the Powerplay, and when Mignon du Preez chipped a catch to mid off and Luus was bowled by Mir for 10, the innings was in danger of meandering completely off course at 49 for 5 in the 13th over. A 54-run stand between Chloe Tryon and Shabnim Ismail repaired some of the damage, but South Africa had plenty of ground to make up after their top-order failures and their eventual total was easily bettered by Dar and Maroof.