Pakistan batswoman Sidra Ameen receives her player of the match award on Friday. KARACHI: Pakistan couldn’t have asked for a better start to their ICC Women’s Championship campaign, as they wrapped up the first series of the 2022-25 cycle of the tournament against Sri Lanka with 3-0 win here on Friday (today). Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 73 runs in the third and final ODI. Pakistan had a forgetful campaign in the inaugural iteration of IWC where they finished seventh among the eight teams. They improved leaps and bounds in the next edition, finishing fifth and missing out on automatic qualification by just five points. Bismah Maroof’s side have bigger challenges ahead of them – they will welcome South Africa, Ireland and West Indies home and will travel to England, New Zealand, Australia and Bangladesh – but a positive start to their campaign could give them the momentum they need to be a part of the top sides that will vie for automatic qualification for 2025 Women’s World Cup. Sidra Ameen equals Pakistan women’s record: Sidra Ameen seems to be only dealing in records of late. During the 2022 Women’s World Cup, she became the first Pakistani woman to score a century in the history of the tournament. A little more than two months later, she again reached the three-figure mark, thus equalling Javeria Khan’s record for most ODI centuries (2) by a Pakistani woman. Sidra endured a difficult start to life in ODI cricket, hitting triple digits in a calendar year only in 2019 despite having made her debut in 2011. However, over the last few years, she has come into her own. 2022 has been her most fruitful year in international cricket, with 401 runs in nine matches so far at an average of 44.55 and she could go on to pile on more runs in the rest of the year. Openers bat Sri Lanka out of the game: Pakistan openers made the most of their captain’s decision to bat first in the second ODI. The Sri Lanka bowlers kept it tight in the opening exchanges, restricting Pakistan to just 21 runs in the first seven overs but they almost doubled their score in the remaining three overs of the Powerplay. Once the fielding restrictions were lifted, the boundaries were hard to come by but Muneeba Ali and Sidra managed to rotate the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking. Chamari Athapaththu dropped a catch to give Muneeba a lifeline and there was no looking back thereafter. Sidra soon brought up her second half-century in as many games and soon thereafter, the pair broke the record for the highest ODI opening stand in Pakistan women’s history (the previous record being 91). This soon turned into the first century partnership for Pakistan women in ODI cricket. Sidra shifted gears after her milestone while Muneeba was solid at the other end. The southpaw soon got to her fifty in style, her second in ODI cricket, with two boundaries in three balls. The partnership finally came to an end for 158 with Muneeba falling for 56 but the pair had ensured that Pakistan had batted their side to victory in the opening exchange. Bismah and Nida Dar applied the finishing touches to set Sri Lanka a target of 254. Sri Lanka batters bogged down by the required run rate: Sri Lanka were a lot more positive in their start compared to Pakistan but the wicket of Hasini Perera in the Powerplay put brakes on the scoring. The wicket of Chamari Athapaththu in the 12th over dented Sri Lanka’s confidence further as the batters went into a shell. Hansima Karunaratne eventually did manage to score a few boundaries but fell to the pressure of the increasing required run-rate. Halfway through the chase, the required run rate was already at 7 rpo. Harshitha Madavi and Kavisha Dilhari did manage to give some impetus to the Sri Lanka innings with their 69-ball 61-run stand but once the latter fell, the rest of the batting bundled. The remaining batters only added 31 more runs as Sri Lanka avoided getting all-out but fell 73 runs short. Brief scores: Pakistan 253 for 2 (Sidra Ameen 123, Muneeba Ali 56, Bismah Maroof 36 not out, Kavisha Dilhari 1-43) beat Sri Lanka 180 for 9 (Harshitha Madavi 41, Kavisha Dilhari 32, Fatima Sana 4-26, Omaima Sohail 2-35) by 73 runs.