Indian women cricketers might have won the high-profile ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 match against Pakistan on Sunday, but a little baby stole the show.
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After India's 107-run victory against their arch-rivals at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui in New Zealand, the International Cricket Council (ICC) shared the two teams posing with Fatima, the six-month-old daughter of Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof.
India and Pakistan, the two nuclear powers, have a long-standing territorial dispute, sparking three wars in 1974, 1965 and 1999. The animosity between the two nations is also often played out in sporting arenas. In fact, the two countries no more play bilateral cricket. They only meet in the multi-team tournaments sanctioned by the ICC or the Asian Cricket Council.
But cricket being the most popular game in both countries, this so-called 'gentleman's game' continues to play its part in bridging the gap. Players, more often than not, displayed their bonhomie. This is the latest example.
And the message from the ICC reflects that very fact, it reads: "Little Fatima's first lesson in the spirit of cricket from India and Pakistan."
Little Fatima's first lesson in the spirit of cricket from India and Pakistan 💙💚 #CWC22— ICC (@ICC) March 6, 2022
📸 @TheRealPCB pic.twitter.com/ut2lCrGL1H
Watch the video footage of Indian cricketers, like Harmanprret Kaur, Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana showering love on the baby. The post has clocked likes in thousands.
This video ..— Dhruba Jyot Nath 🇮🇳 (@Dhrubayogi) March 6, 2022
🇮🇳🙌🏻🇵🇰#INDvPAK #INDvSL #PAKvIND #PAKvAUS#CWC22 #Peshawarblast pic.twitter.com/VuoCOGyzKW
Bismah Maroof, 30, returned to lead the Pakistan women's cricket team after maternity leave.
Earlier in the day, Maroof was seen arriving with her daughter for the match against India.
Pakistan captain @maroof_bismah arriving at the ground earlier today for the #INDvPAK clash with her 6 month old. What a splendid, powerful image. Mothers always hustle! #CWC22 pic.twitter.com/CZnm2G4qO2— Suprita Das (@MissDasTweets) March 6, 2022
India captain Mithali Raja won the toss and opted to bat first. They scored 244/7 despite a middle-order batting collapse. Pooja Vastrakar (67 off 59 balls) and Sneh Rana (53 not out off 48) helped India finish with a flourish after opener Mandhana's 52 off 75.
India then dismissed Pakistan for 137 in 43 overs with Rajeshwari Gayakwad taking four wickets for 31. Jhulan Goswami and Sneh Rana claimed two wickets each.
This was India's 11th win in 11 ODI matches against Pakistan.
India, the two-time runners-up, next play hosts New Zealand in Hamilton on Thursday (March 10), while Pakistan will stay back in Mount Maunganui to face six-time champions Australia on Tuesday.