Goa Women stun Bengal to lift Plate Championship Trophy

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Goa Women stun Bengal to lift Plate Championship Trophy
Goa Women staged a remarkable 37-run win against Bengal in the Senior Women’s One Day League (2017-18) Plate finals at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Tuesday. The star of the match was undoubtedly skipper and India Women all-rounder, Shikha Pandey who shored up the middle-order with a valiant 66 with Bharati Gaonkar (32*) providing resolute support in a significant 85-run seventh-wicket stand.


The home side on winning the toss put in the opposition to bat first. And this decision proved right on the money, with Goa Women tottering at 44/6 by the 23 rd over. Goa think-thank questionably brought in Sindiya Naik at No. 7, and who perished for a nought soon after, especially with Bharati Gaonkar and Santoshi Rane chipping in with useful runs in the last game down the order. Gaonkar, proving her template played to the situation and put her head down to steady a capsizing innings along with her captain, Shikha Pandey.


The India international, Pandey brought in all her experience into exemplary display with Bharati Gaonkar as an able foil to wade through the crisis with tempered tenacity. As the death overs surfaced, Pandey opened her arms to play the big shots and was the eight batter out in the 46 th over after a well-made 66 (89b, 8x4, 1x6) and raising a vital 85-run seventh-wicket stand with Gaonkar who stayed unbeaten for a patient 32 (78b, 1x4). This partnership was sufficed to prop the team score to a competitive 147/9.


In the Bengal attack, young leggie Nisha Maji who debuted this season had the best returns of 3/31. Seamer Gayatri Mal played her part to good effect with 2/20.


In reply, the Bengal scorecard read similar trouble at 51/5 at the start of 26 th over with Sunanda Yetrekar, who failed with the bat, being on top of her game with her leg-spin. Yetrekar snared up the key sticks of Deepti (16), Tanusree Sarkar (0) and Richa (8) to have the Goa Women on the front foot.


But pretty much like Pandey for Goa, Bengal’s Paramita Roy continuing her fine form (57 vs Vidarbha in the semi-finals) was willing to bide time with grit and searching for an adept partner to take the game into the deep end. With the first-ball dismissal of Saika Ishaque to set back Bengal farther at 69/7 after 30 overs, in walked Gayatri Mal.


Mal, demonstrated that she was no mug with the bat and outscored her top-order partner. Mal was out caught and bowled by medium-pacer, Santoshi Rane for 20 (32, 3x4) in a 29-run stand for the eight wicket. With Bengal captain and India all-rounder, Jhulan Goswami in at 10, the home side still had hopes afloat of coming through.


At 109/8 after 43 overs with Roy on 42 and Goswami on 7, Goa made the prudent choice of getting back wicket-taking option Rane back in the attack. And the move paid off with the dangerous Roy run-out by Yetrekar on 43 and Goswami following suit snaffled by keeper Vinavi Gurav in Rane’s ninth over. Bengal was all out for 110 in 43.5 overs.


Sunanda Yetrekar highlighted the Goa Women attack, with amazing returns of 3/13 from 7 overs, with medium pacer Santoshi Rane playing her part with 3/24 from 8.5 overs. Rane’s opening partner with the ball, Pandey’s impact with the cherry was as important for building the pressure upfront by conceding just five runs from her eight overs though she went wicketless.


Goa Women effected one change in their line-up bringing in Diksha Gawde with Vanita Bhandari making her way out. Bengal named an unchanged XI from their Vidarbha game.


With the win, Goa Women thus avenged their seven-wicket loss in the Plate Group C stage to Bengal.


Both, the sides by virtue of reaching the Plate finals are promoted to the Elite Group for the next season.


The writer Basil Sylvester Pinto, is a sports reporter with The Goan Everyday.