Report: 2012 Women’s Challenger Trophy Final
India Blue beat India Red by 60 runs in The Women’s Challenger Trophy 2012 final at the Bandra Kurla Complex Ground in Mumbai.
Earlier, upon winning the toss and opting to bat first, Mithali Raj took India Blue to 225 with a century. India Blue got off to a slow start with openers Poonam Raut and Shweta Jadhav putting together 13 runs for the first wicket, until the latter was run out. Sent back by Raut, Jadhav was well short of her crease as Rasanara Parwin threw the ball from midwicket and bowler Amita Sharma did the needful at the non-striker’s end to send back the opener for five. Raj who replaced her in the middle then bided her time to get in but later quickened the pace, while Raut dropped anchor and held up the other end.
After Raut hit the first boundary of the innings in the 12th over off Amita Sharma, Raj sent the ball racing to the fence in the next over off Kavita Patil. Runs started to flow freely for the batters as the partnership took shape. Taking charge of the innings, Raj was the first to reach her half-century off 77 balls. The India Blue skipper lofted Rasanara Parwin over the bowler’s head to bring up her fifty. Her innings was interspersed with some beautiful drives as she helped build on the total and helped set a challenging target for India Red. The duo brought up the three-figure mark for the team in the 30th over.
With the partnership flourishing and Raut approaching her half-century Ekta Bisht struck to end the partnership for 133. Trapped leg-before, the opener returned four runs short of a well-deserved half-century. Harmanpreet Kaur then joined the captain and the duo added 49 runs for the third wicket, before Kaur was caught by Deshpande at cover off Bisht. Raj who had cruised to her century off 122 balls was the next to return for 119. Caught by Amita Sharma at long off while attempting to send Parwin over the ropes, the India Blue captain got out on the last ball of the 48th over. Nagranjan and Malhotra then added 19 runs in the last two overs, until the former was run out off the last ball of the innings.
Chasing 226, Anagha Deshpande and MD Thirushkamini got India Red off to a good start with a 43-run opening stand, before the latter was send back by Niranjana Nagranjan for 14. Her opening partner too returned to the pavilion in the bowler’s next over run out for 30. Deshpande responding to No.3 bat Latika Kumari’s call wasn’t able to make it to the striker’s end as a direct hit from Poonam Raut at point dismantled the stumps. Veda Krishnamurthy then followed her back two runs later, caught by Reema Malohtra off Nagranjan to leave the team on 47 for the loss of three. With three quick wickets, India Blue had the upper hand and it was up to Kumari and Karuna Jain to salvage the India Red innings. The duo stitched a 49-run stand and kept the scoreboard ticking to take the team to 96, until Jain hit the ball back to Shubhlaxmi Sharma to depart for 22.
With 130 runs still required in less than 19 overs, captain Amita Sharma came to the crease but returned eight runs later. Anuja Patil who replaced her in the middle then supported Kumari to take the innings forward. In the 40th over, the duo collected 13 runs off Gouhar Sultana, while Kumari reached her fifty with a boundary. With 88 required off the last 10 overs, the batters needed to accelerate the run-rate and in the process, Kumari holed out to Harmanpreet Kaur at long-on to depart for 65, and on the next delivery Anuja Patil hit the ball back to Poonam Yadav. With the score on 153 for seven and two new batters at the crease, India Red faced an uphill task. Gouhar Sultana then followed up with the wicket of Kavita Patil, while Mithali Raj claimed Ekta Bisht in the next; and a while later she trapped Parwin lbw to wrap up the opposition for 165.
Brief scores: India Blue 225/5 in 50 overs (M Raj 119, P Raut 46, Ekta Bisht 2/65, R Parwin 1/47) beat India Red 165 all out in 48.2 overs (L Kumari 65, M Raj 2/6, P Yadav 2/24, N Nagranjan 2/32) by 60 runs