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Women’s T20 World Cup: India’s win over Pakistan inspired by Virat Kohli’s MCG feat, says match-winner Jemimah Rodrigues

India batter Jemimah Rodrigues celebrates after hitting her team’s winning runs against Pakistan in a ICC Women’s T20 World Cup group B match at Newlands Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Jemimah Rodrigues revealed Sunday (12) that India’s victory over arch-rivals Pakistan at the Women’s T20 World Cup was inspired by “extraordinary” superstar Virat Kohli.

Rodrigues hit an undefeated 53 off 38 deliveries to steer her side to a seven-wicket win in Cape Town as India chased down their 150-run target with six balls to spare.

Matchwinner Rodrigues admitted that memories of Kohli’s blistering 82 not out off 53 balls in India’s four-wicket victory against Pakistan in the Men’s T20 World Cup last year had been inspirational.

“India v Pakistan matches are always a little bit more special — we spoke about it in the team meeting,” said the 22-year-old.

“Growing up we always watched these matches. I remember watching the match at the MCG where Virat Kohli played such an extraordinary knock.

“We did speak about it but we also just wanted to go out there and put our first win on the board. We just wanted to go out, play the same cricket and with the same intensity as usual.”

Rodrigues came into the World Cup on the back of a worrying run of form which had seen her hit just one score over 30 in her last 10 T20 international innings.

But on Sunday she was the star of the show, ably supported by 19-year-old wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh who made 31 not out.

“This innings means a lot to me — I hadn’t been getting scores for a long time,” Rodrigues told a news conference.

“As a batter when you’re not getting scores, it’s definitely not an enjoyable time. I was working really hard in the nets, I knew I was ticking all the boxes, putting in the effort and going to the gym.

“It was very tough but when it mattered the most, it came, so it was very special for me.”

Sunday’s win was India’s 11th in 14 T20 meetings with their regional rivals.

However, Pakistan put up a competitive total of 149-4 after winning the toss with captain Bismah Maroof hitting an undefeated 68. Ayesha Naseem, 18, made 43 not out off 25 balls.

“We played very good cricket throughout the match. There were errors in our bowling, but overall it was a good match,” said Bismah.

“There are lots of learnings and we’re planning to be better next game.”

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