Jhansi, Yastika impress as India A clinches Challenger Trophy

C. H. Jhansi Lakshmi (54, 70b, 9×4) and Yastika Bhatia (86, 102b, 10×4, 1×6) helped India A beat India D by three wickets in the final of the BCCI senior womenโ€™s Challenger Trophy at the Mulapadu Cricket Complex here on Thursday.

Chasing a target of 220, India A was in a spot of bother when off-spinner Keerthy James struck twice in the seventh over of the innings and her first. She trapped opener Shivali Shinde (14) lbw and then forced Vrinda Ganesh (0) to play the off-drive and edge the ball to the lone slip-fielder Amanjot Kaur.

95-run partnership

But then a 95-run stand for the third wicket between Jhansi and Yastika effectively put India A back in the hunt.

The pair displayed the needed discipline in ensuring that the erring bowler was punished. Jhansi was later lbw to spinner Amanjot Kaur in the 26th over but Yastika held one end up.

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Yastika was, however, lucky to see a difficult chance floored at mid-wicket off left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque when on 4 in the 10th over. But then she batted well till the 39th over before being bowled, playing through the line to left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who took four wickets.

There were tense, final moments when Yastika departed with 19 still needed and with three wickets in hand and 11 overs to go. But Sushree Dibyadarshiniโ€™s sweep shot off Rajeshwari and a straight six off Saika – the winning hit – saw India A get to its target in style.

Chancy knock

Earlier, a chancy knock from opener S. Meghana (45, 44b, 7×4), who was dropped thrice, and a handy contribution from Amanjot Kaur (55 n.o., 74b, 6×4) helped India D post a decent 219 for eight in 50 overs after being put in to bat.

Meghana slashed pacer Simran Bahadur in the fourth over only to see the fielder drop a straightforward chance when on 12, and one run later enjoyed good fortune again as off-spinner Disha Kasat failed to latch on to a return catch.

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To the delight of her camp, Meghana stayed put, scoring 45 before being bowled trying to work left-arm spinner S. S. Kalal on the on-side. She finished the tournament with scores of 60, 102, 0, and 45.

At 91 for one in 16 overs, India D looked good for a big score but the advent of spinners cramped the free-stroking batters. Kasat induced a sweep shot from Indrani Roy (26, 38b,4×4 1×6) and the ball went straight to the fielder in the deep. Later, leg-spinner Maya Sonawane had the free-stroking G. Divya (23, 24b, 5×4) caught at mid-wicket by Kalal.

Kalal then trapped K. Pratyoosha lbw to make it 104 for four and soon India D suffered a huge blow when captain Pooja Vastrakar (7, 16b) was stranded trying to take a second run. It left the team struggling at 117 for five in 27.1 overs.

But the efforts of No.7 Amanjot, who showed neat footwork both against pace and spin, propped up India D total. Amanjot effected some clean hits during her 49-run stand for the seventh wicket with Kanika Ahuja even as Kasat finished with an impressive three-wicket haul.

The scores (final)

  • India D 219 for 8 in 50 overs (S. Meghana 45, Amanjot Kaur 55 n.o., Disha Kasat 3 for 39) lost to India A 224 for 7 in 45.4 overs (C. H. Jhansi Lakshmi 64, Yastika Bhatia 86, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 4 for 36).

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