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Railways crowned Sr. Women’s T20 champions

Young all-rounder Devika Vaidya takes hat-trick

Defending champions Railways beat Goa by three runs in a nail-biting clash at the Holkar Stadium, Indore to be crowned champions of the Senior Women’s T20 League (Elite). Young Maharashtra all-rounder Devika Vaidya claimed a hat-trick to guide her team to second position in the table after a five-wicket win over Odisha.

Railways v Goa: Rlys 76/9 (Harmanpreet Kaur 16, Sonali Gaunder 3/20) beat Goa 73/8 (Sunanda Yetrekar 24, Sneh Rana 3/17) by 3 runs

The importance of dot balls was highlighted in the in the crucial final league match between champions Railways and challengers Goa. With captain Mithali Raj ruled out due to a finger injury, Railways’ batting looked shaky as Goa bowlers pounced on the opportunity. Picking wickets at regular intervals, each Goa bowler showed discipline to restrict Railways to just 76/9 in the allotted 20 overs. Sonali was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three for 20 runs.

Defending a small target, Railways got off to a perfect start by claiming three quick wickets inside 10 runs. All-rounder Sunanda Yetrekar put up a brave fight and added 24 runs for the fourth wicket, the highest in the match, as Goa made an important recovery. The chase was derailed when the partnership was broken in the 11th over owing to a run-out. While Sunanda fought hard from the other end, her wicket on the final ball of the 17th over gave Railways a huge opening. Sunanda was dismissed by Sneh Rana, who also took two more wickets.

With 12 runs needed in three overs and later nine in two, Goa were in a position to upset their more fancied opponents when they needed four off the last over. It was at this stage that Railways proved why they are the best team in the country. While one big hit would have sealed the deal, senior international Niranjana Nagrajan astonishingly bowled a wicket maiden as Railways recorded a memorable victory. Bowling the 18th and 20th over, Niranjana bowled nine dot balls while giving away just three runs.

With three wins in as many games, Railways topped the table and won the title yet again.

Odisha v Maharashtra: Odisha 80/8 (Sarita Meher 23, Devika Vaidya 4/14) lost to 81/5 (Smriti Mandhana 31, Sushree Dibyadarshini 3/20) by 5 wickets

Maharashtra finished second in the points table after their convincing five wickets win over Odisha in the second match of the day. Recently named the best junior cricketer, 18-year-old Devika Vaidya claimed a hat-trick to finish with impressive figures of four for 14. Bowling the final over, Devika struck on the second, third and fourth ball as Odisha were restricted to 80/8.

Young Devika was then asked to open the innings and though she made only eight, her opening partner and captain Smriti Mandhana struck 31 in 29 balls while one-drop Snehal Jadhav made 14 as the two shared a 23-run stand for the second wicket. Though Maharashtra lost few quick wickets later, they had little trouble in overcoming the small target.

Odisha ended their campaign as the bottom-placed team after losing all their leagues.

On Friday, Mumbai will face Uttar Pradesh in the Plate League final at the JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi.

Moulin Parikh

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Mumbai to meet UP in Senior Women’s T20 Plate finals

Naik’s half-century sets-up match for Mumbai

Mumbai cruised into the finals of the Seniors Women’s T20 Plate Group and will take on Uttar Pradesh in the decider to be held on 15 January. In the semi-finals held in Ranchi, Mumbai triumphed over Himachal courtesy S Naik and MK Dakshini’s performances. In the other semi-final, Deepti’s contributions with the bat and Saumya’s four-for ensured Uttar Pradesh a thumping win against Andhra.

Here’s what transpired in the matches:

Mumbai vs Himachal Pradesh: Mumbai 126/7 in 20 overs (S Naik 55, Jemimah R 25, T Kanwer 3/21) beat HP 100/9 in 20 overs (T Kanwer 27, S Kumari 20*, N Daruwalla 2/22) by 26 runs

S Naik's 55 helped Mumbai set Himachal Pradesh a competitive target in the semi-final. After losing her partner with just two runs on the board, the opener forged a 51-run stand with Jemimah R (25) to lay a good foundation. Although Mumbai lost their middle-order to single digit scores, a 5-ball unbeaten 13 by MK Dakshini then lifted the team to 126 for seven at the end of their allotted overs.

Defending the total, Dakshini returned to give Mumbai their first breakthrough in the second over of the game. The rest of the bowlers too bowled well to help keep UP in check. Kanwer, who had earlier claimed three Mumbai wickets, top-scored for UP with 27 runs. However, with wickets falling at regular intervals Mumbai finished on the winnings side.

Andhra vs Uttar Pradesh: UP 123/6 in 20 overs (Deepti 44, M Malik 23, S Gadwal 2/18, M Bhavana 2/25) beat Andhra 80/9 in 20 overs (N Anusha 29, CH Jhansi Lakshmi 20, Saumya 4/13, Deepti 2/13) by 43 runs.

Saumya bowled UP to a 43-run win in against Andhra at the JSCA Stadium. After Deepti's 49-ball 44 at the top of the order, Muskan Malik's 16-ball 23 helped the team to a respectable 123 for six in the all-important knockout game after electing to bat.

Deepti then ended Andhra's opening stand for 40 and followed up with second wicket 17 runs later to set the ball rolling. Saumya then claimed four for 13 to wreck the middle-order and send the opponents on the back foot. The UP attack held Andhra to just 80 for nine.

Prajakta Pawar

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