Women’s Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21 was played between March 11 and April 4. 37 teams were divided into six groups with six teams each in five elite groups and seven teams in the plate group. Railways, who topped the Elite Group B, once again were the dominant side with several India internationals turning up to play for the domestic powerhouse and eventually, they were crowned winners defeating Jharkhand, toppers from the Elite Group A, in the final to register their 12th triumph out of the 14 seasons of the competition.
While Jharkhand had a dream run into the final with several players turning up for the unheralded side, it was eventually Railways’ experience that came through in the final with the Mithali Raj-led side clinically defeating Mani Niharika’s Jharkhand by seven wickets in Rajkot.
Like most seasons in the history of top-order batters, the openers and the spinners dominated both the run charts and wicket columns. Only Buley Ruchita from Mizoram among the top five run-getters of the season wasn’t an opener, while all the top five wicket-takers were spinners with Niranjana Nagarajan at six being the first seamer to make an appearance in the list. With only a handful of matches broadcasted and keeping the numbers in mind, picking a balanced team of the tournament was a difficult task. With a few deliberations and number crunching, we have tried to pick a side that has enough options in all the departments to make up an XI. Although the likes of Deepti Sharma and Mithali Raj turned up at the business end of the tournament after India’s series against South Africa and performed well, they didn’t play enough to be considered for selection.
So, here’s Women’s CricZone’s team of the tournament for the season.
P.S. We hope the authorities can come up with a name for the tournament so that it will have nice a ring to it than having to say “Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21 season’s team of the tournament.”
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Indrani Roy (Jharkhand)
To say Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batter Indrani Roy had a great tournament would be an understatement. The 24-year-old topped the batting charts with 456 runs at an average of 76.00, striking at an impressive 86.52 including two centuries and one fifty. She was the only batter to go past 400 runs during the season. She was instrumental in taking Jharkhand to the final losing only one match in the process.
Even though Roy couldn’t take Jharkhand to their maiden title win against the mighty Railways, she impressed with one and all with her batting abilities at the top and her wicket-keeping could be considered as an added bonus. Even in the final, she looked assured until she was dismissed on 49 and was eventually the top scorer for the side with Jharkhand getting skittled out for 167.
C H Jhansi Lakshmi (Andhra)
Andhra’s batting allrounder C H Jhansi Lakshmi continued her impressive performance in the domestic circuit, this time coming second in the batting charts with 358 runs at an average of 59.67 while also picking up 15 wickets with her off-spin at an average of 14.26 from seven matches. Her strike rate of 59.67 may have made a case against picking her, but she can be a perfect foil for Roy’s attacking ways and her bowling numbers (fourth in the bowling chart) alone could see her making the squad for the season.
MD Thirushkamini (Railways)
MD Thirushkamini played 39 ODIs for India, the last of which came in 2017. The 30-year-old has always been a stellar performer at the domestic level. She scored 353 runs from the five matches she played at a mammoth average of 117.67. Although she opened for Railways, her versatility made us pick her to bat at number three after the Jharkhand-Andhra pair. Her quick-fire 43 off 37 set the tone for the chase against 2018-19 champions Bengal in the semi-final after Sharma scored an impressive 113 opening the innings to set Railways a chase of 251 runs.
Sabbineni Meghana (Railways)
Sabbineni Meghana, yet another India international and opener from Railways, slotted in at number four in the line-up particularly for an impressive strike rate of 82.87 ahead of Ruchita (80.19 SR) and Shubha Satish (72.38 SR) and her ability to find boundaries at regular intervals. While it will be difficult for the 24-year-old to get back into India colours with an abundance of top-order batters in the fray, Meghana continues to rack up impressive numbers for Railways in both the formats in domestic cricket when most of the international stars are away.
Amanjot Kaur (Chandigarh)
Chandigarh skipper Amanjot Kaur has led the side admirably in domestic cricket since the formation of the new side. While she is at number 13 in the batting charts and 47 in the bowling charts with 263 runs and eight wickets, scarcity of medium-pace allrounders could see her settle in the at five in this lineup dominated by openers and spinners.
Pooja Vastrakar scored 222 runs at a much superior strike rate of 89.51 but didn’t have significant big scores like Kaur’s one century and two fifties. Picking Vastrakar could be an option that can be explored considering her eight wickets also in season, but number five will be one or two places high for the talented big hitter. So we decided to stick with Kaur.
Sneh Rana (Railways)
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Third Railways player and third India international discard in the side, Rana captained Railways during the season until Raj returned to take up the reigns and guide them to the trophy triumph. 27-year-old Rana’s ability to strike big was on display during the season with her strike rate of 123.07 being the most impressive thing about her batting.
It’s not just with the bat that the big-hitting Rana turned up for the Railways. She was also one of the key figures of their bowling line-up having picked up 18 wickets at an average of 12.66 to finish as the top wicket-taker of the tournament. She wrecked Jharkhand in the final taking three important wickets including that of Roy to finish with figures of 3 for 33 from her ten overs and then came back to smash a 22-ball unbeaten 34 to take them over the line with plenty of overs to spare. She will also be captaining our team of the tournament.
Rubia Syed (Jammu & Kashmir)
Rubia Syed from Jammu and Kashmir can be considered a left-field pick, but her hitting ability is something that can be of great use at number seven with Rana occupying the number six spot. She scored her runs at 104.81 strike rate during the season while also showing the ability to bat for long, scoring a hundred and a fifty in the process.
Niranjana Nagarajan (Tamil Nadu)
Experienced Nagarajan took most wickets for a pacer during the season with 14 wickets to her name at an amazing average of 9.42 with best figures of 4 for 23. The 32-year-old played for India in 38 matches across the format and has been a reliable performer for Tamil Nadu over the years. With them not making the quarter-final, she could only feature in five matches, still, the fact that she finished as the top wicket-taker among pacers is a testament to her ability as a bowler.
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Nupur Kohale (Vidarbha)
Left-arm spinners are plenty in India’s history and even among current domestic sides. With established names like Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav, there is never a shortage of left-arm spin. While Yadav was away with the side and didn’t feature in the domestic one-day competition, Bisht finished with 13 wickets to her name after being dropped from the India squad for the South Africa series. But she was upstaged by Vidarbha’s Kohale as she picked up 16 wickets from six matches at an average of 9.62 during their run to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Amruta Saran (Pondicherry)
Amruta Saran, Pondicherry's leg-spinner, had a terrific season picking up 16 wickets from six matches including a five-wicket haul against Sikkim to finish number three on the wicket-takers' list. She started the season with a three-for against Bihar and her performance helped Pondicherry register four consecutive wins. Unfortunately for her and her side, the sole loss they suffered against Mizoram cost them as spot in the quarter-finals.
Suman Gulia (Haryana)
Haryana's Suman Gulia is another pacer who had a good season having picked up ten wickets from five matches in Elite Group E. But the side’s early exit from the tournament didn’t let her add any more wickets to her credit. She could partner Nagarajan with the new ball while Kaur can come in as the first change before letting the spinners rule the roost.
Mumbai skipper Sayali Satghare is another medium pacer who had an impact during the season, she had the best individual figures during the tournament having picked up an eye-popping 7 for 5 against Nagaland. But she could pick up only two more wickets from the other four matches.
Team of the Tournament: Sneh Rana (c), Indrani Roy (wk), C H Jhansi Lakshmi, MD Thirushkamini, Sabbineni Meghana, Amanjot Kaur, Rubia Syed, Niranjana Nagarajan, Nupur Kohale, Amruta Saran, Suman Gulia, Shubha Satish (12th player)