Cuttack: Handed a morale-shattering defeat by the former champions Australia in their tournament opener, Pakistan will have to regroup themselves quickly to put up an inspired show against last year`s runners-up New Zealand in the ICC Women`s World Cup, here tomorrow.
The Sana Mir-led Pakistani side was skittled out for a paltry 84 in 33.2 overs by Australia while chasing a gettable target of 176 in 50 overs at the Barabati Stadium.
Pakistan`s pace and spin duo of Asmavia Iqbal and Sadia Yousuf did well to restrict a formidable outfit like Australia well under 200 runs but their batting order crumbled as only two batsmen had scores in double figures.
Pakistan failed to build on partnerships which hurt the team chase badly against the mighty Aussies and this is one area where they need to improve quickly if they fancy their chances of advancing to the Super Six stage of the eight-nation tournament.
Mir, who has the experience of playing in 53 ODIs, will have to lead from the front to inspire confidence in others while Nain Fatima Abidi, Bismah Maroof and Javeria Khan will have to shoulder the middle-order responsibilty.
Their top and middle-order need to fire in unison against a formidable outfit like New Zealand who, on the other day, ended up scoring a massive 320 for five against minnows South Africa.
Pakistan have an experienced bowling unit in Qanita Jalil, Asmavia, Yousuf and Mir and it would be interesting to see whether they can produce another good show against the Black Caps.
On the other hand, New Zealand rode on Sophie Devine`s quickfire 131-ball 145 to thrash South Africa by 150 in their opening Group `B` match yesterday.
New Zealand produced an all-round show to first post a total in excess of 300 runs and then bundled out the Proteas for 170 runs with nine overs to spare at the DRIEMS Ground, Tangi.
Left-arm pacer Siam Ruck (4/31), spinner Morna Nielsen (3/34) and Lea Tahuhu (2/27) starred with the ball to help Black Caps start their campaign on a winning note.
New Zealand`s batting looked in good touch against the Proteas as their skipper Suzie Bates also found herself among the runs with a defiant 72.
Devine and Bates made best use of the placid track at DRIEMS Ground and put on display their vast repertoire of stroke-play which will definitely be a cause of worry for the Pakistani bowlers.
New Zealand`s Sara McGlashan and Nicola Browne also looked in good touch with the bat and the duo would be hoping to continue with their run-scoring spree.
Meanwhile, Australia will take on South Africa in another Group `B` match to be played here tomorrow.
Title contenders Australia would go for a kill to brighten their chances of making the Super Six berth, while, on the other hand, South Africans would look to bring their campaign back on track with a victory tomorrow.
South Africa`s batting line-up crumbled under pressure, losing wickets regularly against the New Zealanders as no one scored more than 37.
Their batting and bowling need to improve in equal measures to register an upset win over Australia, the 2012 World Twenty20 champions and five-time World Cup winners.
The Australians have the experience of Lisa Sthalekar and Alex Blackwell who have tasted World Cup glory, having featured in the 2005 team that lifted the trophy.
Besides Blackwell and Sthalekar, another member of the 2005 winning team is also with the side, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who is now the head coach.
All-rounder Ellyse Perry and batting duo of Alyssa Healy and Jess Cameron were members of the recent ICC Women`s World Twenty20 winning side.
One player to watch out for is in-form batter, Meg Lanning, who recently scored the fastest century by an Australian player in an ODI. She smashed her way to a 45-ball 100 in 55 minutes against New Zealand in December last year.