Yastika Bhatia continues her great run to take India A to Senior One Day Challenger Trophy title

Shajin Mohanan S
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Meet Yastika Bhatia, the karate kid who loves batting

Yastika Bhatia sweeps one against Australia. © Getty Images

Yastika Bhatia was back to her usual self after a couple of low scores and played a magnificent innings to take India A to the title of the Senior One Day Challenger Trophy in Mulapadu, Vijayawada on Thursday (December 9). India D, who had an unbeaten run in the tournament in the group stages, came second best on the day thanks to the efforts of Bhatia and C H Jhansi Lakshmi as the duo shared a 95-run stand for the third wicket.

Chasing the same score as in the last league match against India D in pursuit of the title, India A had a solid start with Jhansi Lakshmi and Shivali Shinde putting on 30 runs in six overs. However, Keerthy James struck twice in the seventh over with the wickets of Shinde and D Vrinda leaving the onus on Jhansi Lakshmi and Bhatia to keep the chase on track.

And the duo did exactly that for India A. Jhansi Lakshmi found ways to keep the scorecard ticking and scored boundaries in the off-side and straight down the ground. Bhatia, who has been on a high since her international debut this year, took her time at the crease. At one stage, Jhansi Lakshmi was batting at 36 off 40 balls, while Bhatia scored only 18 from her first 38 balls.

The left-hander from Andhra brought up fifty from 57 balls as India A reached the three-figure mark. It was beginning to look all easy for the chasing side, when Amanjot Kaur continued her good day to trap Jhansi Lakshmi in front of the wicket with a fuller one.

The 21-year-old Bhatia hit a few boundaries through the off-side and reached her second fifty of the competition from 77 balls. She took India A closer with Disha Kasat as they added 35 runs for the fourth wicket.

Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad brought India D back into the game with two quick strikes including the big wicket of India A skipper Sneh Rana. However, Bhatia upped the ante and played some eye-catching shots with Simran Dil Bahadur hitting a couple of fours on the off-side.

Although Gayakwad kept India D in the hunt with the wickets of both southpaws, it was too little too late for them and Bhatia had done enough to make sure that India A will be the better side on the day. Sushree Dibyadarshini’s cameo at the end meant they had no further hiccups on their way to the title and she finished the match in style hitting Saika Ishaque over long-on for a maximum.

For India D, Gayakwad ended her spell with figures of four for 36 from her ten overs.

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Earlier, put into bat, India D were off to a rapid start with Indrani Roy and S Meghana adding 47 runs for the opening wicket in quick time. After a few fielding mishaps, Kasat dismissed Roy, who hit four fours and a six, for her 26 runs off 38 balls.

With fifty coming in the tenth over, Meghana and G Divya continued the assault and it seemed like India D were on their way to a mammoth total. The duo kept finding the boundaries as India A bowlers provided them with width. However, the introduction of spinners Sonal Kalal and Maya Sonawane got the bowling side some respite and eventually resulted in the wicket of Divya with the score reading 92.

Kalal joined Sonawane when she picked up the dangerous looking Meghana for 45 off 44 balls. India D suffered a middle order wobble and went from 92 for one to 117 for five as they lost K Prathyoosha and Pooja Vastrakar in quick succession.

From there, Kaur settled in nicely with Ayushi Soni giving her company to take the score to 140. Once the latter became Sonawane’s second victim, Kaur found an able partner in Kanika Ahuja and started opening up. She maneuvered the field, finding gaps easily and also ran hard between the wickets. Although Ahuja didn’t hit any boundaries, she gave the Chandigarh allrounder good company as the pair added 49 runs for the seventh wicket.

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Despite Kasat breaking the the partnership and dismissing Saika Ishaque for a first ball duck, Kaur and James played a few attacking shots to take India D to 219 for eight from the stipulated 50 overs. Kaur got to her fifty from 70 balls and remained unbeaten on 55.

For India A, Kasat was the most successful bowler with figures of three for 39, while Kalal and Sonawane picked up two wickets each.

Brief Scores:

India D 219/8 in 50 overs (Amanjot Kaur 55*, S Meghana 45; Disha Kasat 3/39, Maya Sonawane 2/27) beat India A 224/7 in 45.4 overs (Yastika Bhatia 86, C H Jhansi Lakshmi 64; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 4/36) by 3 wickets POTM: Yastika Bhatia