SEMI-FINALS RECAP | Senior Women’s T20 Trophy
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Google Images
SF 1 – Maharashtra vs Baroda
Maharashtra won the toss and elected to field first in the 1st semi-final game. Baroda started in the worst possible way as opener Tarannum Pathan’s struggling outing of 4 in 22 balls was ended by Utkarsha Pawar. After 8 overs, Baroda were reduced to 27/3. Both, the pressures of knockouts and Maharashtra's tight bowling stifled their batters except the ever-consistent Yastika Bhatia who is having a dream year.
Runs have been flowing from her bat since the New Zealand series, but in this knockout game, she not only had the challenge to score runs but also accelerate the innings. In this adverse situation, she produced a valiant knock of 71 off 45 deliveries at a strike rate of 157.78. She also stitched an important partnership of 76 with J. Mohite (22 off 22) and took Baroda to a respectable total of 121/7.
However, Yastika’s dismissal with 10 balls to go cost Baroda an extra 10-15 runs. As in those 10 balls, Baroda could only add 6 runs losing 2 wickets. Utkarsha Pawar was the pick of the bowlers with 3/21 while Mukta Magre took 2 wickets including the big wicket of Yastika.
To defend this total, Baroda bowlers needed to produce something special. And NY Patel started things off by dismissing Smriti Mandhana cheaply on 13 (13). But the other opener, Shivali Shinde (44 off 37) and experienced Tejal Hasabnis (33 off 32) bailed their team out. With the help of their match-winning 55-run stand and all-rounder Devika Vaidya's responsible finishing (21* off 22) with the bat ensured Maharashtra’s 6-wicket victory.
Baroda bowlers tried their best and took the game till the last over. But probably, Yastika's wicket in the penultimate over and Tarannum Pathan's struggle of 4 off 22 while opening cost them big.
It is noteworthy that without any significant contribution from Mandhana’s bat throughout the tournament, team Maharashtra became the first finalists of the Senior T20 Trophy. Previously, Maharashtra had reached the final 4 times, but could never get their hands on this trophy. Can they get lucky in their 5th attempt?
Baroda – 121/7 (20) Y. Bhatia 71 (45), J. Mohite 22 (22); UA Pawar 3/21 (4), MR Magre 2/32 (4)
Maharashtra – 125/4 (19.1) SS Shinde 44 (37), TS Hasabnis 33 (32); NY Patel 1/23 (4), RP Yadav 1/24 (4)
SF 2 – Railways vs Odisha
In the 2nd semi-final game, it was the clash between the two unbeaten sides, Railways, and Odisha. After winning the toss, Railways opted to bat first. They sent a new opening pair of S. Meghana and keeper Nuzhat Parween. In all the previous games, Swagatika Rath opened alongside Meghana. Despite having a dynamic batting order consisting of big hitters like Rath, Sneh Rana, Mona Meshram, and Dayalan Hemalatha, their openers batted the first 10 overs with a cautious approach.
They amassed 60 runs in the 1st 10 overs without losing any wickets. And the much-needed acceleration came from S. Meghana’s bat. Her 50 came in 46 deliveries and added 34 runs more to her score in just 16 balls before Priyanka Priyadarshini dismissed her on 84 (63). Parween, on the other end, finished off the innings with her unbeaten 55 off 51 and helped Railways to put up 159/2 on the board.
Odisha started the innings brilliantly with an attacking approach. They brought their 1st 50 runs in just 5 overs. When both their openers, Madhuri Meheta (35 off 25) and Kajal Jena (24 off 18) were cruising, Railways pulled them back with a double-strike. Odisha found themselves on 60/2 and from there, Odisha's innings collapsed. Swagatika Rath and Tanuja Kanwer took 2 wickets each. Captain Sneh Rana led the bowling with her economical spell of 1/14 with the wicket of Madhuri Meheta who scored a match-winning half-century last match and could take the game away today as well.
Odisha fell short by 35 runs and Railways marched through to yet another final. Railways have won 9 titles so far and will take the field in a bid to add the 10th one to the cabinet.
Railways - 159/2 (20) S. Meghana 84 (63), N. Parween 55* (51); P. Priyadarshini 1/36 (4)
Odisha – 124/7 (20) M. Meheta 35 (25), S. Dibyadarshini 29 (33); S. Rath 2/23 (4), TP Kanwer 2/25 (4)