Railways coast into Senior T20 Trophy final after Meghana-Nuzhat’s opening salvo
In a clash featuring the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament, Railways emerged victorious to reach the final of the Senior T20 Trophy of the 2021-22 season. They will face Maharashtra in the summit clash after beating the impressive Odisha team by 35 runs in the second semi-final at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat.
Railways, who opted to bat first after winning the toss, brought Rajeshwari Gayakwad back into the playing XI in place of last match’s star, Asha S Joy. Odisha went in with an unchanged team and their bowlers bowled well upfront with Rameswari Naik, in particular, proving very difficult to get away.
The vastly experienced Rasanara Parwin was also at her parsimonious best as S Meghana and wicketkeeper Nuzhat Parween, who was promoted to open this match, could only score 60 runs off the first 10 overs.
Even as Parween was steady at one end, Meghana took on the role of the aggressor after the 10-over mark as she scored her last 44 runs off just 23 balls after scoring at a run a ball for the first 40 balls of her innings to finish with 84 off 63 deliveries.
Priyanka Priyadarshini eventually provided the first breakthrough for Odisha after Meghana and Parween had put on a 131 run opening stand. Parween ended with an unbeaten 55 off 51 balls, while captain Sneh Rana finished the innings with a brisk 9* in just three balls as Railways set Odisha a target of 160.
Odisha’s in-form opening pair of Madhuri Meheta and Kajal Jena powered them to a swift start and put on 60 runs in just seven overs. but Jena was dismissed by Poonam Yadav off the last ball of the seventh over for a rapid 24. Rana then introduced herself into the attack and struck off her very first ball as she dismissed the dangerous Meheta, Odisha’s leading run getter in this edition of the tournament, for a brisk 35 off 25 balls.
From thereon, the experienced spin trio of Gayakwad, Rana and Yadav bowled frugally in the middle overs even as Tanuja Kanwer (2/25) and Swagatika Rath picked up two wickets apiece as Odisha’s batters tried to match the increasingly steep required rate.
Brief Scores: Railways 159/2 in 20 overs (S Meghana 84, Nuzhat Parween 55*) beat Odisha 124/7 in 20 overs (Madhuri Meheta 35; Swagatika Rath 2/23 ) by 35 runs.