Deepti's all-round efforts help India Red prevail

Deepti Sharma’s all-round efforts overshadowed Mithali Raj’s run-a-ball 51 as India Red secured a seven-wicket win (VJD method) over India Blue to take an early lead in the Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy at Alur on Tuesday (August 14).

Asked to bat, India Blue ended up with a total of 100 for 8 with Mithali scoring a touch more than 50 percent of the team runs with the next highest being 12. That only the top three scored in excess of 10 spoke of the batters’ inability to forge partnerships with Mithali, who remained steadfast with her approach at one end before being the fourth to be dismissed. And once she departed, India Blue could only add 15 runs in the last 20 deliveries, losing four more wickets in the process.

Among the bowlers, the spinners did the bulk of the damage with Deepti and TP Kanwer picking up four wickets between them. Barring Harleen Deol, who went for 25 runs off her two overs, none of the bowlers conceded more than six an over which highlighted the discipline of the India Red bowlers, whose efforts led to regular wickets including three run outs.

Like India Blue’s innings, India Red’s batting effort also revolved around one person. Deepti held the innings together even as Harleen, Punam Raut and Disha Kasat fell for single digit scores. Close to the half-way stage of the innings, India Red had managed only 44 runs and had lost one more wicket than India Blue. While Mithali’s side would have sensed an avenue to take control of the game, a 35-run stand between Deepti and Mona Meshram alleviated the pressure for India Red.

At 79 for 3, with 22 needed off 21, the game was headed towards a close finish. However, rain had the final say in the match with no further play being possible, with India Red having the unbeaten fourth wicket association to thank as they edged ahead by seven runs on VJD method, with the par score at that stage being 72.

Brief scores: India Blue 100/8 in 20 overs (Mithali Raj 51; Deepti Sharma 2-15, TP Kanwer 2-16) lost to India Red 79/3 in 16.3 overs (Deepti Sharma 45*, Mona Meshram 14*; Anuja Patil 1-13) by 7 wickets (VJD method).

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