Pakistan may have started their Women's ODI World Cup campaign with a defeat on Sunday, but their skipper Bismah Maroof is winning hearts on social media after the ICC posted a picture of her carrying her newborn daughter Fatima in her arms as she entered the stadium before the match in Mount Maunganui.
Bismah is making her comeback to international cricket through this World Cup after going on maternity leave last April. Before that, she had played an international game in 2019, at the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) assisted her return to international cricket by proving the new mother with a 'support person', 'as part of the Pakistan Cricket Board's parental policy, to help her look after the newborn, while keeping her focus on cricket.'
Maroof gave birth to her daughter Fatima in August last year and has been fully supported by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who handed the captaincy of the team back to her, even though this is her first tournament in two years.
The PCB's parental support policy provides female players with 12 months of paid leave and a guaranteed contract extension after the 12 months away.
As pictures of the new mother and her daughter emerged on social media, fans started applauding the PCB's efforts in assisting Bismah.
Even members of the Indian team visited their Pakistani counterparts after the match and were seen spending time with young Fatima and Bismah.
While India and Pakistan's players fought the group stage match very fiercely, after the game, Ekta Bisht was seen playing with young Fatima in front of the Pakistani dressing room after the match.
Later, the ICC posted pictures of members of the Indian team taking selfies with the young baby and her mother with a video also being posted of the team spending time with the seven-month-old.
In the match, fighting batting efforts by Pooja Vastrakar (67 off 59), Sneh Rana (53 not out off 48), and Smriti Mandhana (52 off 75), followed by a clinical bowling performance by Rajeshwari Gayakwad (4/31) helped India defeat Pakistan by 107 runs.
The win extends India's unbeaten run against Pakistan in Women's ODIs, making it 11 wins out of 11. The massive victory also gave a huge early boost to India's net run rate, putting their first points on board in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup standings.
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