Goswami, Kala star in India 'A' triumph
INDIA 'A' hogged the limelight on Tuesday. Led by Jhulan Goswami, the ICC Women's Player of the Year for 2007, the team won the inaugural Women's Challenger Trophy tournament defeating India 'C' in the final at the Mumbai Cricket Association's ground at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.
The tournament was to serve the BCCI in choosing the national team for upcoming internationals. Prof Ratnakar Shetty, the Chief Executive Officer of the BCCI, said 22 of the 39 participants in the tournament would be retained for the camp for April's Asia Cup. "We hope to release the shortlist of 22 soon but I guess the selectors will take some time comparing notes because the level of the play was high," Prof Shetty said.
The victory was worth Rs 4 lakh for the champions, Rs 2 lakh for the runner-up.
Goswami, before the start of the tournament, had said that she loved to sing besides playing cricket.
"I love Kishore Kumar's songs, and 'Rukh jana nahin' is my favourite," she had said last Friday. In the final, there was no stopping the almost six-foot tall player from Kolkata. She cracked the winning runs to set off the team celebrations.
Goswami, who had got three important wickets, those of India 'C' opener Karuna Jain and leading scorers Devika Palshikar (54) and Amita Sharma (44) to play a prominent role in restricting the opposition total to 198, also dominated with the bat, slamming 33 runs to shore the team to success.
If Goswami provided the icing, Hemlata Kala's workmanlike 58 provided the base without which India 'A' might not have won. Kala batted steadily and exploited the vacant space to steal runs at a brisk rate. She struck just four boundaries before missing the bounce and direction from a clever delivery from spinner Neetu David.
Kala's stint in the middle started when the team was on 64 for three and ended at 168 for seven with her best partnership, with Asha Rawat (23), realising 42 runs for the fifth wicket.
Earlier, India 'C' skipper Mithali Raj gambled on batting first after winning the toss. The team missed the 200 run mark by just two runs but it utilised all the overs, the innings ending on the last ball of the 50th over. Along with Palshikar's half century, opener Jaya Sharma also struck 58 runs for India 'C'. But unlike Kala's similar top knock for the winners, hers was futile.
India 'C' 198 all out in 50 overs (Jaya Sharma 58, Devika Palshikar 54, Amita Sharma 44; Jhulan Goswami 3-46, Nooshin Al Khadeer 2-23, Swaroopa Kadam 1-16, Priti Dimri 1-35) lost to India 'A' 200 for 7 wickets in 48.1 overs (Sulakshana Naik 24, Hemlata Kala 58, Asha Rawat 23, Jhulan Goswami 33; Neetu David 2-26, Amita Sharma 1-32, N Niranjana 1-35, Seema Pujari 1-42, Devika Palshikar 1-28) by three wickets.
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