England Women’s A team was cruising at 114 for five until the 18th over, in pursuit of India A’s 134 for seven, when right-arm seamer Kashvee Gautam struck twice in a span of two deliveries.
That proved to be a game-changing moment as India A managed to pull off a three-run win in the first T20 at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
In a low-scoring affair, England A needed 23 runs in the last three overs, and with Hollie Armitage making the most of a reprieve and laying the foundation with a gritty 52 off 41, Indian bowlers were feeling the heat.
However, Kashvee (two for 23), who recently claimed a five-wicket haul - including a hat-trick - for North Zone against North East Zone in the BCCI Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal T20 Trophy at Lucknow, remained calm and dismissed Seren Smale and Issy Wong in quick succession to bring India A back on track.
England couldn’t recover from those quick blows.
In the last over, it needed 13 runs, and despite Shreyanka Patil (two for 26) starting off the over with a wide and a four, the young offie managed to hold her nerves and claim two wickets to guide India home.
“Before the last over, I was near the boundary line and our coach Nooshin Ma’am (Nooshin Al Khadeer) asked how much I could defend in the last over, and I confidently told her that I would defend six to seven runs. But the first ball went for five runs, but I knew that I could get the job done. I kept calm,” Shreyanka, who was adjudged the player of the match, said.
“I have done this before, and it’s not easy to bowl at the death with 13 runs needed. But I knew I could get the job done…”
The Bengaluru-based all-rounder, however, agreed that India A was about ‘10 to 15 runs short’, batting first. Having won the toss, the home team opted to bat, but it lost opener Uma Chetry early on. Though Vrinda Dinesh’s 22 in as many deliveries and Disha Kast’s 32-ball-25 steadied the ship, the team failed to forge any big partnerships.
It would have struggled to breach the 120-run mark had Kanika Ahuja and Arushi Goel not chipped in with quickfire knocks. Their cameos helped the team reach a decent total, which the bowlers managed to defend.
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