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Cricket news - All-round Pakistan level series with 34-run victory

Sidra Ameen fell just four runs short of a century

All-round Pakistan inflicted a 34-run defeat on Windies at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai on Saturday to make a strong comeback in the three-match ODI series. The victory was set-up by Sidra Ameen and Nida Dar, who both missed their respective centuries, but gave Pakistan a strong 240 total on the board. Sana Mir and Diana Baig then shared seven wickets between them to wrap up Windies' innings on 206 to level the series.

Opting to bat first, Pakistan suffered a familiar top-order collapse except that Ameen held one end up. Reduced to 52 for 3, with their returning skipper Bismah Maroof also back in the hut, Pakistan were staring at yet another low score when Dar joined hands with Ameen to repair the damage. The pair went on to add 102 runs for the fourth-wicket stand that laid the foundation of their total.

It took a run-out to break the threatening partnership as Ameen fell four runs short of what would have been her maiden ODI century. Dar then combined with Mir and raised her half-century in a 44-run partnership. Despite losing the senior all-rounder, and more wickets at regular intervals, Dar continued to fetch boundaries and help Pakistan to 234 before she became the eighth to be dismissed. Dar hit eight boundaries and two sixes in her 86-ball 81.

Windies' chase was off to a nightmarish start with pacer Baig striking thrice in quick succession to reduce the visitors to 27 for 3 inside 11 overs. Skipper Stafanie Taylor and Chedean Nation attempted to put the chase back on track with a 65-run partnership for the fourth wicket but Nashra Sandhu and Sana Mir triggered a collapse yet again to leave Windies reeling at 105 for 6.

The big-hitting Natasha McLean provided some late fireworks, and almost single-handedly, but the equation quickly spiralled out of Windies' reach. She raised her maiden ODI fifty off 57 deliveries to keep Windies' faint hopes alive but with minimal support from the other end. After a frustrating 62-run stand for the final wicket with Shamilia Connell, McLean fell for 82 with two balls to spare in the Windies' innings.

Pakistan have not only picked up two crucial Championship points but also forced a decider on Monday, at the same venue.

Brief scores: Pakistan 240 all out in 49.4 overs (Sidra Ameen 96, Nida Dar 81; Shakera Selman 2-33, Deandra Dottin 2-55) beat Windies 206 all out in 49.4 overs (Natasha McLean 82, Stafanie Taylor 48; Diana Baig 4-34, Sana Mir 3-21, Nashra Sandhu 2-38) by 34 runs

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