Elsewhere in Rajkot in the other quarter-final, Andhra trumped Vidarbha by a convincing 49-run margin to become the third team to qualify for the semi-finals to set up their clash against Jharkhand on Thursday.
Opting to bat after skipper Rumeli Dhar won the toss, Bengal didn’t have the greatest of starts and were struggling at 48 for 3 from 18 overs at one stage having lost Mita Paul, Aparna Mondal and Dhar. From there, P P Paul gave Sharma some company to take the score to 95. Sharma brought up her fifty from 84 balls during the partnership.
Sharma added two more small, but significant partnerships, 45 with Mamta and another 33 with Richa Ghosh to take the score to 173 for 6 in 41.4 overs. But Bengal couldn’t have the final push and once Ghosh was dismissed for 22 by Varsha, they lost wickets at regular intervals to be bowled out for 205 in 48.5 overs.
The left-handed Sharma couldn’t reach the three-figure mark as she was the eighth wicket to fall when Poonam Soni dismissed her for 94 off 142 deliveries. For Madhya Pradesh, Varsha, Soni and skipper Pooja Vastrakar picked two wickets each.
Chasing 206 to win, although Madhya Pradesh openers Anushka Sharma and Reena Yadav put on 45 runs, it took a long time coming as the pair batted for almost 20 overs. Post the dismissal of Reena, Vastrakar and Tamanna Nigam formed a partnership of 74 and tried to guide the chase.
However, once Vastrakar was dismissed for a well-made 48 off 51 by the experienced Gouher Sultana, other batters couldn’t do much and wickets fell in clusters and Madhya Pradesh went from 134 to 2 to 177 all out in 46.5 overs giving Bengal a 28-run win.
For Bengal, Sharma and Sultana finished with three wickets each while Rukmoni Roy picked up two wickets.
In quarter-final three, opting to bat, Andhra openers N Anusha and C H Jhansi Lakshmi got them off to a solid start putting on 84 runs from 22 for the opening wicket. Anusha, who scored her fifty from 63 balls – including eight boundaries - was the first wicket to fall when Disha Kasat had her caught and bowled for 52.
Soon Andhra lost Jhansi Lakshmi too with G S Wankar castling her for 33. 30s from V Pushpa Latha and M Durga and their 59 runs partnership took Andhra to 160. Two more wickets from Kasat reduced them to 184 for 5 before cameos from the lower order took the Andhra side to 218 for 6 from the allotted 50 overs.
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In reply, Vidarbha openers put on 48 runs from 16.1 overs before Prangini Chauhan was trapped in front by G Chandra Lekha for 15. They soon lost Bharti Fulmali for a duck when the allrounder also became another LBW victim. Kasat tried to guide the chase with a fifty before she fell for the score of 52 off 90 balls.
From there, Vidarbha lost a flurry of wickets with Jhansi Lakshmi striking thrice to leave them reeling at 100 for 8 from 32.4 overs. Nupur Kohale and Wankar tried valiantly with an enterprising 64 runs partnership from 12 overs to take their score to 164 in 44.4 overs.
But Jhansi Lakshmi struck twice again remove both Kohale and Wankar to give herself a five-wicket haul and take Andhra to the semi-final of the tournament with a 49-run win.
For Andhra, Jhansi Lakshmi finished with figures of 5 for 26 from 9.2 overs.
Bengal 205/10 in 48.5 overs (Deepti Sharma 94; Varsha 2/33) beat Madhya Pradesh 177/10 in 47.5 overs (Pooja Vastrakar 48, Tamanna Nigam 36; Gouher Sultana 3/22, Deepti Sharma 3/40) by 28 runs.
Andhra 218/6 in 50 overs (N Anusha 52, V Pushpa Latha 39; Disha Kasat 3/40) beat Vidarbha 169/10 in 46.2 overs (Disha Kasat 52, Nupur Kohale 43; C H Jhansi Lakshmi 5/26) by 49 runs.