Maharashtra and Railways cruise into Senior T20 semis

Dayalan Hemalatha (R) and Devika Vaidya (L) © Getty Images

Maharashtra and Railways cruised past Himachal Pradesh and Kerala in their respective quarterfinal games to make it to the semi-finals of the ongoing Senior T20 League on Saturday, April 30.

Devika Vaidya’s scintillating spell of 3/18 in her comeback game after recovering from a thumb fracture guided Maharashtra to a nine-wicket win over Himachal Pradesh at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, in Surat.

Maharashtra skipper Smriti Mandhana elected to field first after winning the toss, and her bowlers didn’t disappoint her. Shraddha Pokharkar picked up the prized scalp of Harleen Deol, who had played an instrumental role in the previous match to help Himachal qualify for the quarters. Pokharkar dismissed her on the second delivery of her spell and jolted Sushma Verma’s side early.

Deol’s dismissal brought the duo of Nikita and Prachi Chauhan in the middle. Both players scored a few boundaries to lift their side after an early setback, but before their partnership could become threatening, Nikita fell for an individual score of 22 runs.

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Prachi was then joined by skipper Verma in the middle. Verma got off to a good start as she hit two boundaries but was outfoxed by Vaidya while trying to get Himachal moving at a brisk pace.

Prachi kept running out of partners at the other end as Maharashtra bowlers increased their stranglehold over Himachal batters. Her unbeaten 41-run knock propelled Himachal to a respectable total i.e. 100/9 in 20 overs.

But a score of 100 runs was never going to be enough against Maharashtra and the opening pair of Smriti Mandhana and wicket-keeper batter Shivali Shinde showed the same with their batting display. The pair never allowed Himachal’s bowlers to make an impact on the game as they smashed them with ease. Their 80 runs stand in 12 overs sealed the deal in Mahrashtra’s favour as they now look to lock horns with Baroda in one of the semi-finals.

In another quarterfinal clash, Railways led by allrounder Sneh Rana trounced Kerala by 71 runs at the C K Pithawala Ground in Surat.

Kerala skipper Sajeevan Sajana’s decision of bowling first went against them. Railways got off to a decent start as openers Sabbhineni Meghana and Swagatika Rath only went after deliveries that needed to be put away to the fence. And before the pair could cause any serious damage Kerala got rid of them in quick succession.

Sajna’s side dismissed both openers in the eighth over of the innings and had Railways in a spot of bother. But in came Dayalan Hemalatha and turned the entire course of the match.

She played a 64-run knock off just 37 balls at an outstanding strike rate of 172.97. Her innings included nine fours and two sixes. She was bolstered by the presence of Rana at the other end who took the attack to the Kerala bowlers and scored a quick-fire 39* off 21 balls, including eight boundaries.

Skipper’s knock gave the power surge Railways needed as they reached 166 runs in 20 overs.

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In pursuit of the target, Kerala were jostled early as they lost their top-three batters inside the powerplay. Their middle order tried to put up a fight as Devan Drishya, skipper Sajana, and Mrudhula Suresh reached double digits. But it wasn’t much to ruffle any feathers. Asha S Joy picked up three wickets for Railways to become the bowler with the most scalps in the game.

Brief Scores:

Himachal Pradesh 100/9 in 20 overs (Prachi Chauhan 41*; Devika Vaidya 3/18) lost to Maharashtra 102/1 in 13.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 46*; Nikita Chauhan 1/21) by nine wickets

Railways 166/6 in 20 overs (Dayalan Hemalatha 64; Sourabhya P Balan 1/17) beat Kerala 95/9 in 20 overs (Sajeevan Sajana 25; Asha S Joy 3/19) by 71 runs