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Central Zone claim Senior Women’s Inter-zonal three-day title

Raut leading run-scorer; Bisht and Gayakwad top wicket-takers’ list

Central Zone emerged winners of the Senior Women’s Inter-zonal three-day tournament, 2016-17. The only team to win two matches, the Mithali Raj-led team finished at the top of the table with 19 points to lift the title.

Ahead of their fourth and last game of the tournament, CZ held the No 1 spot with 16 points while their opposition in the last encounter, West Zone were at No 2 with 11 points and needed a victory to displace the table-toppers. However, CZ dominated the proceedings after winning the toss in Raipur and finished with a first innings lead in the drawn game to claim the title.

Leading run-getter of the tournament, Punam Raut carried her bat in CZ’s first innings to take the team to 205. The opener scored an unbeaten 125 to help the team to a respectable total. While the rest of the line-up returned without much resistance, Raut found support in MD Thirushkamini, who made a 104-ball 35 in the 56-run stand with the opener until she was trapped lbw by Anuja Patil. WZ’s M Dakshini claimed three for 42 as they wrapped up CZ’s first innings in 94.3 overs.

The CZ spinners – Ekta Bisht (3/20), Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/21) and Poonam Yadav (2/32) - then skittled out West Zone for 114 to help their team seize a solid 91-run lead.

Building on the lead, the CZ middle-order made useful contributions to set the opponents a stiff 251-run target. Mona Meshram opening the innings for CZ was sent back for eight by Dakshini while R Dabhi followed up with the wicket of Raut, who had come to the crease at No 3 to leave the side on 37 for two. However, Nuzhat Parween anchored the innings to take the side to 159 for five until Mithali declared the innings. The wicketkeeper-bat scored an unbeaten 55, while Pallavi Bharadwaj made 32 and Thirushkamini opening the innings contributed 31.

Defending the total, Bisht dealt the first blow to leave WZ on 18 for one. She bowled Y Bhatia to set the ball rolling. The spinners then continued to claim wickets at regular intervals as they pursued victory. While Jemimah R (45 off 100) at the top of the order and Patil (72* off 108) lower down order showed resistance to keep the innings in the fray, the CZ spinners wreaked havoc. Gayakwad picked four for 51, while Bisht took two and Yadav and Raut claimed a wicket each as they left WZ on 157 for eight until the match ended in a draw.

With 21 wickets apiece, Bisht and Gayakwad finished at the top two positions in the wicket-takers list.
CZ had begun their campaign with a thumping win against East Zone. The innings and 76-run win gave then seven points (one point bonus). Raut had starred in the game with a 145-run knock while Gayakwad and Deepti had claimed five-wicket hauls in EZ’s first and second innings respectively.

The Mithali-led team then posted a nine-wicket win against South Zone and followed it up with a first innings lead in a drawn match against North Zone. The consistent performances helped them finish at the top of the table and finish the season on a high note.  

BCCI Staff

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Bengal march into final

Centurions Goswami and Eswaran set up win against Jharkhand

Bengal booked themselves a place in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016-17 final with a 41-run win against Jharkhand at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Put in to bat by MS Dhoni, Shreevats Goswami (101 off 99) and AR Eswaran (101 off 121) set up the stage for a formidable target with a 198-run opening stand. While both openers scored centuries, Pragyan Ojha (5/71) and Co. helped defend the 329-run total in a hard-fought game.

After biding their time in the middle, the Bengal openers milked the Varun Aaron-led attack to set the tone for the innings. Having taken the measure of the situation, Goswami took the attack to the bowlers. While his half-century came-up off 60 balls, his next 50 runs came off 36 deliveries. Monu Kumar accounted for the opener to end the flourishing partnership. After adding 31 runs to the tally with Manoj Tiwary, Eswaran was run out by Pratyush Singh leaving the team on 229 for two in the 40th overs.

The Bengal skipper then led the charge from the front. He slammed seven boundaries and two sixes during his 49-ball 75-run unbeaten knock to set Jharkhand a 330-run target in the knock-out game. He was ably supported by the middle-order batsmen in adding quick runs in the last ten overs of the innings as the Jharkhand bowlers strove to create breakthroughs. While his stand with Agniv Pan was worth 41 runs, Manoj was involved in a 46-run partnership with Sudip Chatterjee. With Anustup Majumdar he then helped Bengal to 329 for four in their allotted quota of overs.

Kanishk Sheth then provided Bengal with the first breakthrough with the wicket of Pratyush with 26 runs on the board. A bit later Sayan Gosh followed up with the wicket of Virat Singh while Sheth claimed Kumar Deobrat to leave Jharkhand on 99 for three.

Dhoni then joined forces with Saurabh Tiwary. The pair had added 54 runs for the fourth wicket until Ashoke Dinda dismantled Saurabh’s stumps. With the side on 153 for four at the end of 31 overs, Ishank Jaggi joined his captain in fighting the uphill task. Batting at a brisk pace, the pair took the attack to the bowlers.

The Dhoni-Jaggi partnership added 97 runs to the total until Ojha castled Dhoni to tip the balance further in Bengal’s favour. The skipper returned to the pavilion for 70 off 62 which comprised four sixes and two boundaries. In the next over, Jaggi was trapped lbw by Gosh leaving the team on 258 for six. With 72 runs required off 32 balls, it was an improbable task and Ojha ran through lower-order. The spinner claimed four more wickets to finish with a five-for as he bowled Bengal to victory. 

BCCI Staff

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