Vanitha VR was in full flow. Cutting length balls, playing the sweeps and the slogs against spin, running well between the wickets and stamping her authority by hitting the bowlers over their head, she had managed to race to 50 off just 28 balls, with KiNi RR Sports’ score reading 62 for no loss after seven overs. At the other end was Roshni Kiran batting on a mere eight. If anything it was Sehwag-esque.
That was a start enough for KiNi RR to capitalise on as they won the Falcons Sports Club Golden Jubilee T20 Tournament on Tuesday (January 12) at the Samprasiddhi Sports Estadio, Bengaluru, bringing down curtains to the nine-day competition with one of the most dominant displays. Herons Sports were the unfortunate side to bear the brunt of Vanitha’s heroics, first, followed by a combined haul of six wickets for 27 runs between Radha Yadav and Debasmita Dutta.
Vanitha couldn’t have chosen a grander occasion to smack her first fifty of the competition, having come close once when she made 48 against Herons in her second game. She hit 11 fours and three sixes in her 49-ball knock during which, KiNi RR seemed primed to post a total around the 150-run mark. But, like they say in the domestic circuit, that the only person who can dismiss Vanitha is Vanitha herself, she went down for a wild slog off Anagha Murali, only to miss the ball and get stumped for 77.
KiNi RR were three down for 101 with 31 balls left in the innings.
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What followed then was a strong comeback by the Herons bowlers, led by Pushpa Kiresur, who finished with three for 20, as KiNi RR lost six for 31 from that point to finish at 132 for eight.
That Herons were largely a one-woman team, relying on their skipper Divya Gnanananda to provide them with runs almost every time, was an open secret. The right-hander began in right earnest, hitting four fours and a couple of sixes for her 30-ball 37. But she couldn’t resist taking the aerial route against a tossed up delivery by Dutta, holing out to Shishira Gowda to all but diminish Herons’ hopes.
The celebrations by the KiNi RR players had a tale to tell. From 47 for two at that point, Herons ended up folding up for a meagre 92 to go down by 40 runs in the title-clash. While Dutta finished with three for 14, the left-arm spinner Yadav returned three for 13 and also played a role in running out Aditirajesh Shimoga for six.
Earlier in the day, the Veda Krishnamurthy-led Ameya Sports finally managed to get a win, pipping Sheen Sports by seven wickets to finish third in the competition. Ameya’s chase was led by the experienced opening pair of MD Thirushkamini (39) and Krishnamurthy (44), who added 79 in their chase of 124. Anuja Patil then applied the finishing touches, remaining unbeaten on 26 off just 15 balls.
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Patil also starred with the ball before that, picking up three Sheen wickets – Jemimah Rodrigues (62), Krishika Reddy (three) and captain Rakshitha Krishnappa (four) – for just 15 runs. It was Rodrigues’ second half century in the tournament, after she’d made 53 in the opening encounter. Her knock on Tuesday took 47 balls with 12 hits to the fence.
The last day of the competition also saw the presence of Mithali Raj, India’s ODI captain, former Indian spinner, Nooshin Al Khadeer, and former India men’s skipper Mohammad Azharuddin.
Sheen Sports 123/5 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 62; Anuja Patil 3/15) lost to Ameya Sports 126/3 in 18.5 overs (Veda Krishnamurthy 44, MD Thirushkamini 39, Anuja Patil 26*) by seven wickets.
KiNi RR Sports 132/8 in 20 overs (Vanitha VR 77; Pushpa Kiresur 3/20) beat Herons Sports 92 all out in 19.4 overs (Divya Gnanananda 37; Radha Yadav 3/13, Debasmita Dutta 3/14) by 40 runs.