Punjab beat Karnataka in the finals of the Senior Women’s T20 League 2018-19 to win the tournament. Punjab continued their unbeaten streak in the tournament with a thrilling last over victory in the finals.
Parveen Khan, the captain of Punjab while speaking to Women’s CricZone said, “There was unity amongst us from the very beginning. As a unit, we would support each and every player from the team, even the ones that were performing well and also the ones that were not. If you see all the matches everyone had contributed to the success of the team, be it bowling, batting or fielding – all the departments.”
Khan also mentioned that she faced a lot of difficulties to pick up the team as all 15 were performing well for the side.
“In our squad of fifteen everyone was performing, it became very difficult to chose the playing eleven for the side. Everyone has performed to win the tournament and series.”
Put to bat first, Punjab scored a total of 131, with Jasia Akhtar’s 58 after being dropped 7 times by Karnataka and cameo innings by Neelam Bisht 14-ball-27 including two sixes and three fours.
“My only aim while batting today was to set a good target anything above 125 would be good so I thought 131 was quite defendable if you see our bowling attack,” said Bisht exclusively to Women’s CricZone.
Khan added, “The way our batting strength is we thought the total was below average and the Wankhede wicket gets better in the second half of the match but our bowling has been our strength throughout and the bowlers didn’t panic, they saw us through.”
Sunita Rani picked up 2 wickets in the final match and also broke a crucial partnership between Divya and Prathyusha. On which she said, “I just was bowling to my strength, I had 4 overs in my hand to prove my potential and I tried to do that.”
With 6 runs needed of last over, Bisht defended the over with bowling dot on the first ball followed by a wicket, and a single which brought Prathyusha on strike who had scored 28 ball 35 but she chewed up the final three deliveries.
Bisht said on the heroic final over, “The way my previous two spells happened I knew it was a good time to cover up. I knew that the way we have been able to take the match until the last over I could make a comeback with this over.”
“My plan in the last over was, with the new batswoman on the crease I wanted to restrict her to get the most of the strike. I knew that the new batter couldn’t hit me, so I wanted to bowl the maximum number of dot balls so the target would become more and more difficult to chase. Prathyusha was playing well then but I wanted to bowl maximum dot balls, and for me, the 5th delivery was the most important, where the decision was being made,” she added.
Bisht and Sunita Rani picked up 12 wickets each in the tournament.
Rani said,“I am happy I could contribute to my team with 12 wickets. I tried to bowl wicket to wicket, and glad that my team won the tournament and I could be part of it.”
Bisht credited her team performance by saying, “The way our team has performed is spectacular throughout the tournament, we have tried to execute according to our team plan and seen the results.”
Rani expressed her joy over the win, “Last time we hardly won 2-3 matches, I am glad this time we could capitalize and win the tournament this time around.”
Parveen Khan also mentioned the positive of the tournament was their unbeaten run in the tournament. “Being the unbeaten side this tournament has been our major positive, we have won every match we played and only one of our matches got washed out against Karnataka. And today two teams from the same group played the finals and we played good cricket to win the tournament.”
To capitalise on the win, Khan and Bisht spoke about their future plans as a team, “We have finally achieved the title of champions, now we have to maintain and keep up with it so we will work harder and hope that few of our players play the Women’s IPL and Challenger Trophy,” said Khan.
“The way our performance has been I hope that in IPL many players are picked up and deserve a spot. We just want to maintain this performance in the Under 23 One Day,” said Bisht.