Railways, Punjab qualify for Senior One Day Trophy semi-finals

Railways in action during Women's Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21 © BCCI

A brilliant five-wicket haul from Kanika Ahuja helped Punjab trump Maharashtra by five wickets, while S Meghana’s breezy 90 and clinical bowling performance ensured a 149-run victory for Railways against Odisha in the quarterfinals of the Senior One Day Tournament.

In the second quarterfinal, Mithali Raj won the toss and opted to bat. S Meghana continued her good form at the top, taking the attack to the Odisha pacers in the powerplay. Meanwhile, Nuzhat Parween struggled to keep the innings going at the other end.

At one point, the Odisha bowlers tried to keep Meghana off strike as much as possible and were more than happy to bowl to the out-of-touch Parween. While Meghana cruised past her fifty, the wicketkeeper-batter took her time to settle but slowly picked up the pace and started accelerating.

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Together they added 158 runs before Parween got out for 62 runs from 94 balls. Meghana did not last long after that, falling ten runs short of a century. She made 90 runs from 101 balls at a strike rate of 89.11.

While batters at one end were not able to keep up with the momentum, Sneh Rana went berserk, smashing a 36-ball 49 before getting out to Rasanara Parwin. Railways finished with 271 for nine in 50 overs. Priyanka Priyadarshini was the pick of the bowler for Odisha, taking three wickets for 56 runs.

In reply, Odisha got off to a horror start as Meghna Singh and Renuka Thakur sent both the openers packing early. Though Sarita Meher and Sushree Dibyadarshini tried to revive the innings, the Railways bowling attack was just too good for them.

Odisha scrapped their way to 122 for seven in 50 overs. Dibyadarshini top-scored with 44 runs from 79 balls as Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Meghna and D Hemalatha took two wickets each.

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Earlier, Maharashtra could not stand the clinical bowling performance for Punjab as they lost wickets in a heap. Mehak Kesar and Kanika Ahuja ran through the top-order, with the latter taking five wickets for 23 runs in her seven over.

M R Magre’s 63-ball 38 was the only positive for Maharashtra as they were restricted to 120 for nine in the rain-affected 33-overs game. 

Though PB Garkhede took early wickets for Maharashtra in their pursuit to defend a below-par total, Punjab skipper Taniya Bhatia forged hands with Neetu Singh to keep her team in the chase.

Neetu got out to Anuja Patil for 25 runs from 33 balls, but Bhatia held her nerve till the end, scoring an unbeaten 39 from 51 balls. With Neelam Bisht’s 39-ball 36 for support, Bhatia took her team across the line in 29.3 overs. 

Brief Scores:

Railways 271/9 in 50 overs (S Meghna 90, Nuzhat Parween 62; Priyanka Priyadarshini 3/56) beat Odisha 122/7 in 50 overs (Sushree Dibyadarshini 44, Tanmayee Behera 21*; Meghna Singh 2/20) by 149 runs. 

Maharashtra 120/9 in 33 overs (M R Magre 38, S S Shinde 19; Kanika Ahuka 5/23) lost to Punjab 122/5 in 29.3 overs (Taniya Bhatia 39*, Neelam Bisht 36*; P B Garkhede 2/15) by 5 wickets.

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