Lahore : Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof was elated after a crushing 3-0 victory in an away series against Sri Lanka but said her players were looking to “polish” their skills as they prepare to take on stronger teams in the ICC Women’s Championship.
Pakistan’s impressive performance has lifted them to third on the Points Table with eight points, two points behind New Zealand and Australia after the end of their second round matches. England and South Africa have played only one series each and will face off in England from 9-15 June to complete the second round of the championship.
Australia defeated India 3-0 in a recent away series while New Zealand had the same score-line against the Windies at home in the eight-team competition, which is the pathway to the next ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand in 2021.
Pakistan captain Maroof said that though she was happy with how the team played in Dambulla, the series did not mean there was any kind of relief for the side, especially since they next play Australia.
“We know that it is the second round of the championship and there are big hurdles to cross in the coming months. These points are very crucial for us and we are putting in our best to maintain the stride. We’ve improved immensely on the batting side. The bowling gave us important breakthroughs that cultivated a field for us to win,” she said while praising batters Nahida Khan, Muneeba Ali and Javeria Khan and spin bowlers Sana Mir and Nashra Sandhu.
“Australia is a very strong team and to give them a strong competition we are pushing ourselves really hard. We are polishing our skills on all ends, from bowling to fielding, to long partnerships. We are also working to hold our nerves in times of crises, since half of cricket I think is a mind game. Once you win here (mind), you win there (field). We will do our best to make the most of Sharjah’s conditions and to carry the confidence we have earned in this series,” she added.
For Pakistan, former captain Sana Mir was the pick of the performers with two four-wicket hauls in the series that have propelled her to the top of the table for bowlers with 17 wickets in six matches, having taken seven in the preceding series against New Zealand which the team lost 1-2 in Sharjah.