After seeing Pakistan’s chase of Rwanda’s modest 106/8 get off to a false start with opening partner Shawaal Zulfiqar dismissed with the score on one at JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, Fatima dropped anchor and played a knock which took turns being watchful and seizing the initiative.
Fatima’s nerveless half-century came off 60 balls and featured 11 fours, and it was fitting that the player of the match also scored the winning runs with a square cut for four off the fifth ball of the 18th over bowled by Gisele Ishimwe.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the Rwandans soon lost opener Marvaille Uwase for a duck with just a single on the scoreboard. This left fellow opener Cynthia Tuyizere and captain Gisele Ishimwe to do the salvage job with a cautious partnership of 51 over the next 10 overs.
Ishimwe would go on to be top scorer with a 49-ball 40 which was studded with four of the six boundaries the Rwandans could muster in the whole innings.
As that fours tally suggested, there wasn’t much more support for that second wicket partnership, with only Tuyizere (20 off 34), Ishimwe’s sister Henriette (14) and the extras (16, which included 13 wides) getting into double figures.
Throw in reasonably accurate bowling by the Pakistan bowling attack – the pick of which was Areesha Noor Bhatti with figures of 2/19 off four overs – and three run-outs in the innings and the East Africans were always going to struggle to post a big target.
Their competitiveness nearly turned a molehill run chase into a mountain, but they just never had enough runs on the board.
Scores in brief:
Toss: Rwanda, who elected to bat.
Rwanda 106 for 8 in 20 overs (Gisele Ishimwe 40, Cynthia Tuyizere 20, Areesha Noor Bhatti two for 19, Zamina Tahir Chungtai one for 4)
Pakistan 108 for two in 17.5 overs (Eyman Fatima 65 not out, Syeda Aroob Shah 20 not out, Henriette Ishimwe one for 12, Gisele Ishimwe one for 27)
Pakistan won by eight wickets, with 13 balls to spare.