Pooja Vastrakar keeps India D's unbeaten run intact; to face India A in final of Challenger Trophy

Shajin Mohanan S
07 Dec 2021
Pooja Vastrakar keeps India D's unbeaten run intact; to face India A in final of Challenger Trophy

Pooja Vastrakar in action © Getty Images

An aggressive knock by skipper Pooja Vastrakar helped India D continue their unbeaten run intact as they finished the group stages of the Senior One Day Challenger Trophy with three wins from as many matches in Mulapadu, Vijayawada on Tuesday (December 7). India C's win against India B in the other fixture meant, India D will once again clash against India A in the final of the tournament on December 9.

After being put into bat by India A, India D lost both the openers inside the first three overs with Renuka Singh Thakur removing them cheaply. S Meghana was out for a duck, while K Prathyoosha scored only five.

From there, Divya Gnanananda scored a flurry of boundaries even as Amanjot Kaur took her time at the other end. India D reached 44 by the end of the eighth over. However, skipper Sneh Rana struck with the final ball of the over to remove the dangerous-looking Gnanananda for 33 off 20 balls.

Soon India D were reduced to 57 for four when Simran Dil Bahadur sent Kaur back in the 13th over. That’s when Vastrakar joined Ayushi Soni in the middle and it was up to the India D skipper to resurrect the innings. Both started slowly and took them over the three-figure mark.

The duo added 82 for the fifth wicket before Rana trapped Soni in front of the wicket for 47 off 103 balls. But that didn’t stop Vastrakar and in the 40th over, she brought up her fifty from 65 balls.

Post her fifty, Vastrakar was severe on India A bowlers as she used her feet to come down the track and smashed the bowlers down the ground for boundaries. She launched both Rana and Bahadur for two sixes each.

The big-hitting allrounder was eventually caught on the boundary by Rana when she tried to reach her century in the final delivery of the innings. Vastrakar scored 96 off 96 balls as she became Thakur’s third victim. India D finished on 219 for seven from the stipulated fifty overs.

For India A, Thakur was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 47, while Bahadur took two wickets.

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In the chase, although Shivali Shinde hit two early boundaries, India A were slow to get out of the blocks. Fellow opener C H Jhansi Lakshmi was stuck at the crease at the start and was on one off 17 balls at one stage. The duo added 40 runs, but it came in 13.2 overs, leaving them behind the eight-ball with the required run rate going up.

Left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque was the first to strike for India D when she removed Shinde for 25. India international Yastika Bhatia didn’t stay much longer either as she became Ishaque’s second wicket. Elegant Disha Kasat got off to a promising start and Jhansi Lakshmi picked up the pace to take India A to the 100-run mark in the 29th over.

In the same over, Jhansi Lakshmi found herself short of the crease at the non-striking end with Soni’s direct throw hitting the stumps. Rana and Kasat hit a few shots to pick up the pace with Rana launching Soni for a six over long-on. At the other end, Kasat played some eye-catching shots including a couple of glances.

However, Rana’s promising start came to an end when she attempted a hoick across the wicket against Rajeshwari Gayakwad and was caught for 17. Kasat took India A over 150 and when she brought up her fifty from 70 balls, they needed 69 from 68 balls.

Soon after her fifty, an ill-advised pull against Kanika Ahuja saw Kasat getting trapped in front of the wicket. With that scalp, India D were completely on the ascendancy and all but ended India A’s hope of overhauling the target.

Even though Bahadur played an attacking cameo, it was too little too late for the side and once she was caught at short fine-leg for 22 off 24, India A’s innings meandered to end on 197 for seven from the fifty overs.

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In the other game of the day, India C registered their first win and ended India B’s hope of making to the final by beating them convincingly. After put into bat, India C openers Priya Punia and Dhara Gujjar added 37 runs for the opening wicket inside the power play.

Once Gujjar fell in the tenth over, Punia and Anushka Sharma shared a 107-run partnership for the second wicket with the both batters scoring fifties. Meghna Singh brought India B into the game with the wickets of Punia and Tarannum Pathan.

When Sharma became Ram’s first wicket, India C were already on 150 in the 35th over and was looking to post a huge score. However, Ram stuck at regular intervals and only Radha Yadav and Challuru Prathyusha could get into double figures from the rest of India B batters.

Ram picked up Aiswharya Singh to register a five-wicket haul for herself and India C were bowled out in the 49th over as they went from 144 for one to 212 all out.

In reply, India B were off to a good start with skipper Taniya Bhatia opening the batting. She put on 39-run for the opening wicket with a struggling Palak Patel. Just as it looked like Bhatia will go on to play a big knock, she fell to Pathan for 30. The off-spinner picked up Patel and Shubha Satish in her next two overs reducing India B to 53 for three.

From there, twin strikes from Sharma left India B reeling at 55 for five in 16.3 overs. Harleen Deol continued her good form in the tournament and tried to repair their innings with a 48-run stand for sixth wicket. By the time Deol fell for 46, India B were out of the game. Despite an attacking unbeaten 39 from Singh, they could only reach 187 for eight and found themselves 25 runs short of India C’s score.

For India C, Pathan starred with the ball as her bowling figures read four for 39 from her ten overs.

Brief Scores:

India D 219/7 in 50 overs (Pooja Vastrakar 96, Ayushi Soni 47; Renuka Singh Thakur 3/47, Simran Dil Bahadur 2/45) beat India A 197/7 in 50 overs (Disha Kasat 51, C H Jhansi Lakshmi 39; Saika Ishaque 2/31, Kanika Ahuja 2/42) by 22 runs

India C 212/10 in 48.2 overs (Anushka Sharma 63, Priya Punia 60; Chandu V Ram 5/40) beat India B 187/8 in 50 overs (Harleen Deol 46, Meghna Singh 39; Tarannum Pathan 4/39, Anushka Sharma 2/26) by 25 runs

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