Muneeba Ali. [Source: BBC Sport]
Muneeba Ali became the first woman to hit a century for Pakistan in a T20 international as they thrashed Ireland by 70 runs at the T20 World Cup.
The opener smashed a magnificent 102 from just 68 balls, hitting 14 fours.
Muneeba, 25, put on 101 for the third wicket with Nida Dar, who hit 33 from 28 balls, as Pakistan reached 165-5 from their 20 overs.
Orla Prendergast hit an enterprising 31 from 21 balls in reply but Ireland were all out for 95 with 21 balls to spare.
The result revives Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals after they were beaten by India in their tournament opener.
Ireland, who lost to England on Monday, are not mathematically eliminated, but they need to win their last two games by a large margin and hope other results go their way.
After being asked to bat first, Pakistan lost Javeria Khan for six and captain Bismah Maroof for four to slip to 55-2.
But Muneeba and Dar’s partnership, a record for Pakistan at a Women’s T20 World Cup, lifted them up to a imposing total.
Ireland tried to be aggressive as they chased what would have been a record T20 score for the country.
Prendergast hit four fours and a six in her lively innings, while Eimear Richardson’s 28 from 17 balls included five successive fours.
But their aggressive approach also led to regular wickets and they never threatened to get close to their victory target, with Nashra Sundhu the pick of the bowlers taking 4-18.
Ireland’s next match is against West Indies in Cape Town on Friday. Pakistan are next in action against the same opposition in Paarl on Sunday.
‘In the 13th over, I knew I could get 100’ – reaction
Player of the match – Pakistan’s Muneeba Ali: “When I got a partnership, Nida Dar was telling me to keep going – then in the 13th over, I knew I could get 100.
“I was playing with the field and trying to understand where I could get a boundary and Dar also helped me.”
Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof: “It was a very clinical performance in every department. I am very proud of the way Muneeba [Ali] batted. She backed herself and showed what she can do. I hope she can keep playing like that.
“We take the positives from the last match and we have improved our game in this match. We will celebrate with some cake when we go back to the hotel.”
Ireland captain Laura Delany: “I think we underperformed today and will be disappointed with the performance. We gave them too much width. We had intent with the bat but we are disappointed with how we batted today.
“We need to sit down and identify the errors ahead of the next game. This is a lovely venue to play on and bat on and we want to make the most of it next time.”