India registered a thrilling seven-wicket victory against Pakistan in a humdinger of a match to start their Women's T20 World Cup with a win on Sunday at Newlands.
Richa Ghosh's 31(20) and Jemimah Rodrigues' 53*(38) heroics with the bat sealed India a spirited win in a riveting contest of the Group B clash.
Shafali Verma 33(25), Harmnapreet Kaur 16(12) and Yastika Bhatia 17(20) too made valuable contributions.
Chasing the target of 149 runs, India got off to an excellent start with Yastiuka Bhatia smashing a boundary on the second ball of the over.
Her opening partner, Shafali Verma too started aggressively as the duo took their team to 33/0 at the end of the fifth over.
The opening pair looked in great touch and seemed they would build up on their solid start but Sadia Iqbal drew first blood as she got rid of Bhatia in the last over of the powerplay. The left-hander was looking to clear the infield but could not find the middle of the bat as she holed out to Fatima Sana in the extra cover region after scoring 17(20).
Right-hand batter Shafali continued her merry way as she notched up a couple of boundaries before getting dismissed for 33(25) in the 10th over. India were placed comfortably at 67/2 at the halfway mark with star batters Harmanpreet Kaur 1(2) and Jemimah Rodrigues 15(14) at the crease.
Indian skipper started getting into the groove as she smashed two boundaries in the 11th over off Fatima Sana. Rodrigues joined in the attack and crushed a four in the next over to keep India in the driving seat.
The batting duo looked set to take the side home but Nashra Sandhu lured Harmanpreet into her signature slog-sweep, but the right-hander was early into the shot, managing an edge to the short third-man.
Pakistani players erupted into a celebration with Sandhu dismissing India's skipper for 16(12).
The arch-rivals sniffed a chance to get back into the game but youngster Richa Ghosh and Rodrigues stitched a match-winning partnership of 58 runs off just 39 balls to secure India's win.
Richa took the charge with Rodrigues playing second fiddle initially. India needed 10 runs each in the last four overs but the duo's heroics sealed the game with an over to spare.
The wicketkeeper batsmen survived a close call in the 16th over after she was adjudged lbw, but DRS showed the ball to have managed an edge onto the glove, giving Richa a reprieve.
She then made the most out of it and played a crucial inning of 31 runs off just 20 balls which was studded with five boundaries.
Rodrigues too came to the fore when needed, clinching a fifty and remaining unbeaten on 53 from 38 balls. She was also named the player of the match for her superb inning.
Nashra Sandhu was the pick of bowlers for Pakistan picking up two wickets for just 15 runs in her four overs.
Earlier, Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof played a captain's knock to clinch a half-century while Ayesha Naseem's impactful inning helped Pakistan reach a competitive total of 149 runs.
Ayesha made a quickfire 43 from 25 balls while the skipper played the role of the sheet anchor to remain unbeaten on 68 runs.
(with inputs from ANI)