A brilliant bowling performance by Poonam Yadav-led Central Zone saw them lift the Senior Women’s Inter Zonal T20 Trophy with a massive 9-wicket victory at the Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow on Wednesday.

Having won the toss, West Zone opted to bat first against Central Zone. The decision seemed to be dictated by how the pitch would play under the floodlights, as dew was sure to come in with winters beginning in North India. But the decision seemed to have backfired with Yastika Bhatia-led West Zone struggling from the word go to put on a competitive total on the board.

Captain Poonam Yadav receiving the trophy | Courtesy: Ekana Stadium media team

A brilliant bowling performance by pacer Anjali Sarvani (2/17) early on saw her pick up two crucial wickets of skipper Yastika Bhatia (10) and Simran Shaikh (2) and put her team in the driver’s seat. Suman L Meena bolstered the powerplay bowling by picking up the wicket of Humaira Kazi. With West Zone reeling at 24/3 in 4.6 overs, Shivali Shinde attempted to anchor the innings during her 20-ball 17 but succumbed to captain Yadav’s spin in her very first over.

Rashi Kanojiya (2/3) in her three-over spell also chipped in with the important wicket of Baroda batter Tarannum Pathan, who was expected to compensate with some lower order hitting. She also dismissed Shraddha Pokharkhar for 1 run.

Simran Shaikh (2) and Pragya Rawat (0) also could not bring back the momentum their side had lost early in the game as they both departed to single digit scores. Sarvani, player of the final for Railways in Senior Women’s T20 Trophy, had finished her quota early in the game. But was still determined to make an impact in the game as she effected a brilliant run out, sending back Rawat for a duck.

Meanwhile, the tournament’s leading run scorer wicket-keeping opener Nuzhat Parween continued her brilliant show with an unbeaten 28. She finished the tournament with 267 runs in six matches. Giving her company in what was a rather smooth powerplay for Central Zone was Jasia Akhter (25) who has also been in great touch in the tournament. She was dismissed by Pokharkhar (1/11) in the 9th over for 25 runs, breaking the 47-run opening partnership.

West captain Yastika Bhatia had to walk off the field in the ninth over as she was hit by the ball while keeping, just after Akhter’s dismissal.

Central Zone batters Dayalan Hemalatha (L) and Nuzhat Parween (R) with West Zone bowler Tarannum Pathan | Courtesy: Ekana Stadium media team

Dayalan Hemalatha, then combined with Parween to add 19 runs as Central Zone finished the match in 13.3 overs.

West Zone’s troubles here still did not come as a surprise because apart from Yastika Bhatia, not a single batter from the West Zone featured among the top ten leading run scorers in the tournament. They would have been hoping to put on a powerful batting performance upfront and then hope for the bowling attack led by Devika Vaidya and Neha Chavda to do the heavy lifting when the dew set but a below par total left them with absolutely no cushion at all.

In comparison, Central Zone looked like a class apart, looking far more disciplined with both the bat and the ball and in the field. That Parween finished the tournament as the leading run scorer and Sarvani and Kanojiya with 10 wickets each finished as the leading wicket takers speaks volumes about the collective performance of now the title-holders Central Zone.