Women's Challenger Trophy 2021-22: Pooja Vastrakar powers IND D to final; IND C, IND B knocked out

India-A joined India-D in the final despite its loss after edging out India-C and India-B by virtue of a better net run-rate after the last round on Tuesday.

Captain Pooja Vastrakar missed a deserving century by four runs but helped India-D score 219 for seven after being put in to bat. (FILE PHOTO)   -  The Hindu

India-D scored a 22-run win over India-A in the final round to remain unbeaten in three games and make it to the final of the BCCI Senior Women’s Challenger Trophy one-day cricket championship at Mulapadu Cricket Complex on Tuesday.

However, India-A also made it to the final, scheduled on December 9, despite tying with four points each with the other two teams India-C and India-B by virtue of better net run-rate.

Earlier, captain Pooja Vastrakar missed a deserving century by four runs but helped India-D score 219 for seven after being put in to bat. The innings was off to a dismal start with last match centurion and  opener S. Meghana slashing one from medium-pacer Renuka Singh straight to point off the third ball of the innings. The pacer then struck quickly to remove K. Pratyoosha to make it 17 for two in 2.1 overs. She eventually finished with a three-wicket haul.

READ: Women's Challenger Trophy 2021-22: Meghana century leads India D to second win; IND A beats IND C

Captain Sneh Rana struck the third blow dismissing the free-stroking G. Divya (33, 20b, 6x4). However, a crucial 82-run stand between Ayushi Soni (47, 103b, 3x4) and Pooja Vastrakar (96, 96b, 6x4, 4x6) helped India-D recover well. Pooja was the more dominant with her fearless stroke-play as was evident by the way she stepped out to hit four clean hits over the fence during her stay.

The hard-hitting all-rounder, who was dropped on 64 off Simran Bahadur, looked good for a century and even clipped Renuka Singh of the second ball of the last over to move to 95, then took a single and when she had a chance to go for the three-figure mark with a ball to go on 96, she holed out to the fielder in the deep.

Chasing the modest target, India-A lost the first wicket of opener Shivali Shinde in the 14th over at 40, bowled trying to work left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque on the onside.

Soon, southpaw Yastika Bhatia stepped out to drive Saika only to be stumped smartly by K. Pratyoosha to make it 59 for two in the 19th over.

Later, a 41-run stand between Ch. Jhansi Lakshmi (39, 65b, 4x4) and Disha Kasat (51, 73b, 5x4) was broken when the former was stranded trying to take a sharp single with a direct throw from Ayush Soni.

But once the big blow was struck when captain Sneh Rana hit one from Rajeshwari straight to the fielder inside the circle to make it 138 for four in 36.4 overs, it was never easy for India-A. Soon, Disha Kasat played across to pull only to miss the line of the ball and be plumb in front of the wicket of off-spinner Kanika Ahuja to make it 162 for five in 41.2 overs.

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After that it was all over the bar shouting for India-A.

In the other match, opener Priya Punia (60, 92b, 6x4) and Anushka Sharma (63, 91b, 8x4, 1x6) helped India-C score 212 in 48.2 overs and record a 25-run win over India-B.

The two also put on a 107-run stand for the second wicket which ensured the team posted a decent total as the other batters failed to come good in the face of a fine spell by off-spinner Chandu V. Ram who completed a five-wicket haul.

In reply, India-B was restricted to 187 for eight in 50 overs with off-spinner Tarannum Pathan (four for 39) being the pick of the bowlers.

The scores: India-D 219/7 in 50 overs (Ayushi Soni 47, Pooja Vastrakar 96, Renuka Singh 3/47) bt India-A 197/7 in 50 overs (Disha Kasat 51).

India-C 212 in 48.2 overs (Priya Punia 60, Anushka Sharma 63, Chandu V. Ram 5/40) bt India-B 187/8 in 50 overs (Harleen B Deol 46, Tarannum Pathan 4/39).

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