Railways extended their incredible dominance of the Women’s Senior One Day Trophy, India’s domestic 50-over competition, by clinching their 12th title on Sunday in Rajkot with a thumping win against Jharkhand.
Set 168 to win, a star-studded Railways unit registered a comprehensive seven-wicket win with 78 balls to spare finishing on 169/3.
In the 14 completed editions of the tournament, Railways have not won the title only twice.
List of Women's Senior One Day Trophy winners
|2019-20||N/A (Season not completed)|
Railways’ road to championship in 2021:
Final vs Jharkhand: Railways won by 7 wickets
SF vs Bengal: Railways won by 6 wickets
QF vs Odisha: Railways won by 68 runs
Group B, Match 5 vs Assam: Railways won by 9 wickets
Group B, Match 4 vs Saurashtra: Railways won by 139 runs
Group B, Match 3 vs Haryana: Railways won by 153 runs
Group B, Match 2 vs Uttarakhand: Railways won by 8 wickets
Group B, Match 1 vs Bengal: Railways won by 67 runs
Mithali Raj and Co were asked to field first but despite losing the toss, the favourites dictated tempo throughout the duration of the final at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. Tournament’s leading run-getter Indrani Roy top-scored for Jharkhand in the final, making 49.
The wicketkeeper-batter’s innings at the top of the order and captain Mani Niharika’s 39 at the back-end of the innings guided Jharkhand to 167 in their 50 overs. The first-time finalists were bowled out off the last ball of the innings.
Railways stuck to their strength as Raj deployed five spinners in her six-bowler attack. Spin-bowling allrounder Sneh Rana (who finished the tournament as the leading wicket-taker) picked up three wickets while a brilliant opening spell by Meghna Singh (7-0-22-2) — where she picked up back-to-back wickets to set Jharkhand back early — set the tone for the rest of the day for the serial winners. Meghna Singh was one of the four changes Railways made for the final, as she replaced India international Arundhati Reddy and made her presence felt dismissing Ritu Kumari (0) and Radhey Sonia (0).
Senior pro Ekta Bisht also picked up two wickets (7-0-33-2) while Poonam Yadav ended a six-match List A streak of wicketless outings. She struck in her final over of the day.
Rana got Roy stumped by Team India keeper Nuzhat Parween. Durga Murmu (31) and skipper Mani Niharika (39 not out) were the other significant contributors with the bat. Jharkhand were 130/5 at one stage on the 39th over, looking good for a total closer to 200 but they lost their last five wickets for 37 runs.
The run-chase was largely smooth for Railways despite the absence of their top-scorer Thirushkamini due to an injury. Despite losing Nuzhat Parween for a duck, opener S Meghana (53 off 67 balls) and in-form Punam Raut (59 off 94) struck half-centuries as the side cruised towards a big win. The early wicket pegged Railways back a little bit but after the 10-over mark, the runs flowed rather easily. The duo added 107 runs for the second wicket in 25 overs. Both were dismissed in quick succession but Mona Meshram (19 not out) and Rana added 45 runs in less than seven overs to seal the deal. Rana hit five fours and a six while Meshram also got a maximum.
Fittingly, one of the stars of the tournament, Sneh Rana (who captained when Mithali was on international duty) scored the winning runs to finish unbeaten on 34 off 22 balls. Mithali, who returned from India duty to lead the side from the quarter-finals onward, was not required to bat.
Jharkhand: 167/10 in 50 overs (Indrani Roy 49, Sneh Rana 3/33)
Railways: 168/3 in 37 overs (S Meghana 53, Punam Raut 59)
(Full scorecard of the match here.)
Here are some reactions to the win: