FINAL | Senior Women's T20 Trophy | Invincible Railways crush Maharashtra to win record 10th domestic T20 title
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Google Images
In the finals, Maharashtra were up against the unbeaten side in the competition & 9-time champions, Railways. Maharashtra captain Smriti Mandhana won the toss and elected to bat first. She won all 8 tosses in the tournament. However, her form with the bat was questionable. Where all the India internationals got big runs throughout the competition, she didn't cross a single 50 run-mark. But big players step up on the big occasions and Mandhana did exactly that.
Mandhana struggled throughout the competition against inswing bowlers. And Railways didn’t field any inswing bowler like Renuka Singh to exploit that weakness of her. Rather, they came with a spin-heavy attack. A team that can bench top India bowlers Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Meghna Singh, and Renuka Singh in a game like final, shows their depth, fearlessness, and the gap of quality between them and other domestic sides.
Mandhana and Shivali Shinde (30 off 25) shared a 74-run opening stand between them before Railways skipper Sneh Rana provided the breakthrough. But Mandhana cruised to her maiden 50 (39) of this season with a straight six. They reached the three-figure mark in 12.5 overs. When things were going out of Railways' hands, off-spinner Swagatika Rath pulled things back in their favor. She scalped 3 crucial wickets including Mandhana on 84 off 56 in the death overs. She was brought back in the 16th and 18th over and she dismissed Hasabnis (15 off 21) and Magre (8 off 11) in the 1st delivery of those respective overs after going big in her first two overs.
After Mandhana’s dismissal on the 18.5 over, Maharashtra were still 7 runs away from the 150 run-mark. But cameos from Devika Vaidya (9* off 4) and SA Lonkar (8 off 3) helped Maharashtra to add 17 runs and posted a fighting total of 160 runs on the board. To win the maiden title, Maharashtra needed to produce an extraordinary bowling performance.
In the last two matches, Railways had some cautious starts and scored only 50-60 runs in the 1st 10 overs. S. Meghana started with a flier and brought up a 29-ball 50. But a few deliveries later, Magre dismissed her on 52 off 32. Dayalan Hemalatha came to the crease and took the innings at the same pace from where Meghana left. She stitched a 48-run partnership with Anjali Sarvani (26* off 15) and tonked a magnificent knock of 65 off 41. Railways chased down the total with 1.5 overs to spare with a big six from Sarvani’s bat. The Railways juggernaut kept rolling as they won the game and their 10th title by 7 wickets.
Maharashtra – 160/4 (20) S. Mandhana 84 (56), S. Shinde 30 (25); S. Rath 3/33 (4), S. Rana 1/34 (4)
Railways – 165/3 (18.1) D. Hemalatha 65 (41), S. Meghana 52 (32); MD Sonawane 2/22 (3.1), MR Magre 1/23(2)