By Karunya Keshav
Railways defended their Inter-State Senior Women’s One-Day tournament title in style on Tuesday (October 18) after remaining unbeaten in the Elite Super League.
Punam Raut’s unbeaten 136-ball 102 was backed up by contrasting half-centuries from MD Thirushkamini (68 off 104 balls) and Mithali Raj (62 off 50), the captain, as they posted an emphatic 265 for 3 in their last league game, against Delhi, for the highest total of the tournament. Their spinners Poonam Yadav (3-33), Ekta Bisht (2-12) and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2-12) then confirmed their tenth domestic one-day title with a 140-run win.
Yadav, the India legspinner, and her team-mate Bisht, the left-armer, had been integral to keeping their other opponents, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, to below-100 scores in 10-wicket and 79-run wins respectively after Railways qualified for the Super League having played just one match in a rain-affected Elite league.
“The team is happy to win the title, especially since we hardly got any matches going into the Super League, considering the rain,” said Kalpana Cardoso, the Railways team manager. “We had a close match with Maharashtra and we’re happy that we crushed the Delhi side to end on a high. All our batsmen got good runs [on Tuesday], and our bowlers have always done well for us … on good batting tracks.”
Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi all won one game each. The Smriti Mandhana-led Maharashtra finished second on net run-rate, despite losing a final-day thriller by two wickets to an all-round MP.
Mandhana starred with a brisk 74 in her side’s 40-run march over Delhi. Three wickets for Babita Negi and an unbeaten 60 for Neha Tanwar, who added to a consistent showing all tournament, helped Delhi open their account against MP.
Earlier in the first round, rain ruined much of the Group B games played in Guntur and Perecherla, with Railways and Mumbai both having three no-results. In Group A, Maharashtra pocketed maximum points, while an abandoned game proved costly for Hyderabad, who couldn’t add to their one win to aim for a top-two finish.
Goa and, cruelly, Mumbai – who lost their only completed game despite a sparkling 97 from Jemimah R – will be relegated to the Plate group.
Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, who will face off in the Plate final on Wednesday, are set to make the step up.
Karunya Keshav is senior copy editor at Wisden India. She tweets @kuks.
First published on Wisden India.