With a crushing seven-wicket win over Jharkhand in the final on Sunday, the mighty Indian Railways reclaimed the National One-Day Championships trophy. In 14 editions of the National One-Dayers, the Railways women have won 12 titles in as many appearances, demonstrating their supremacy in women’s cricket. Railways had such complete control over the proceedings that they chased down the meagre target of 168 in just 37 overs, without even having to bring out their finest batter Mithali Raj from the cooler confines of the dressing room.
Punam Raut’s patient 59 off 94 balls set the tone for all-rounder Sneh Rana, who smashed 34 not out off 22 balls to put the game out of reach.
Rana was the most prolific Railways bowler, taking 3 for 34 with her handy off-breaks in addition to her breezy batting.
Following Jhakhand’s decision to bat, the Railways put in a highly professional display across the board.
Six batters from Jharkhand failed to reach double digits, although three others were unable to open their accounts.
Raj used five spinners in her six-bowler attack, which helped the Railways to hold to their strengths.
Meghna Singh (2/22 in 7 overs), the only medium pacer on the pitch, struck twice in the seventh over, dismissing Ritu Kumari (0) and Radhey Sonia (0).
Jharkhand’s best hitter in the tournament, Indrani Roy (49 off 77 balls), wasn’t at her best on the day, hitting just three boundaries.
Rana was stumped by Team India keeper Nuzhat Parween just as she appeared to be in charge. Jharkhand’s other notable contributors were Durga Murmu (31) and skipper Mani Niharika (39 not out).
Jharkhand were 130 for 5 in the 39th over, looking strong for a target of about 200, but their last five wickets were lost for 37 runs.
In addition to Rana and Swagatika Rath (1/28), out-of-favour left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht (2/33 in 7 overs) and out-of-form leg spinner Poonam Yadav (1/26 in 7 overs) kept things tight.
S Meghana (53 off 67 balls, 6x4s) and Raut (11x4s) scored 107 runs for the second wicket in 25 overs while chasing the target. Though Meghana’s strokeplay was more offensive, senior-pro Raut was able to play her natural game of grinding out the opposition.
Mona Meshram (19 not out) and Sneh scored 45 runs in less than seven overs to secure the victory. Meshram also got a maximum, while Rana touched five fours and a six.
Scores in a Hurry
Sneh Rana 3/33, Ekta Bisht 2/33, Poonam Yadav 1/26; Jharkhand 167 all out in 50 overs (Indrani Roy 49 off 77 balls; Sneh Rana 3/33, Ekta Bisht 2/33, Poonam Yadav 1/26)
169/3 in 37 overs for the Railways (Punam Raut 59 off 94 balls, S Meghana 53 off 67 balls, Sneh Rana 34 not out off 22 balls).
Railways were victorious by 7 wickets.