• The Western Conference take a 3-2 win over the Eastern/Central Conference at the Sistar Mortgage Women’s National Championship in Florida
  • Shebani Bhaskar named Sistar Mortgage Player of the Tournament, as well as being the leading runscorer while Anika Kumar was the leading wicket-taker 

There was a fantastic, hugely competitive week of cricket for the Sistar Mortgage Women’s National Championship in Florida with the Western Conference taking a 3-2 win to be crowned the National Champions after the five completed matches.

After a washout in Game 1 of the 50 over series, Game 2 was also rain-reduced but not until 40 overs had been completed by the Eastern Conference. The 14 year old Disha Dinghra showed good composure opening the batting (24 from 74 balls), and received good support from her Captain Shebani Bhaskar (35 from 44 balls) and Geetika Kodali (19 from 42 balls).  A little cameo from Holly Charles with 13 from 15 balls was cut short by more rain and lightning at Broward County with Uzma Iftikhar the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 23 from 8 overs. 

Chasing a revised total of 102 runs in 20 overs on DLS, the eventual Player of the Match Gargi Bhogle scored a quickfire 45 off 54 balls and was well supported by Isani Vaghela who made 33 off 43 balls. The game went all the way down to the penultimate ball though with the Western Conference getting the total in the 20th over and taking a one-nil lead in the Championships.

Friday saw a change in weather after the rest-day and with it came a change in result with the Eastern/Central Conference chasing down a respectable total of 187.  After a disastrous start and some disciplined bowling from a team bowling attack, the West were reeling at 60 for 7 in the 21st over until Isani Vaghela (62 from 76 balls) and Jivana Ares (38 from 69 balls) got the innings back on track with one of the stand-out partnerships of the week, putting on a more than 100 runs together in impressive fashion. a 103 run partnership. For the bowling unit,  Anika Kumar came of age with the best figures of 3/17 from 6.1 overs as the East needed 188 to level the series.

Not to be undone, Nadia Gruny anchored the chase for the Eastern/Central Conference and earned herself the Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match with 68 runs from 101 balls.   Shebani Bhaskar chipped in with 19 from 33 balls but once again the middle order provided some useful runs with Moksha Chaudhary (47 from 83 balls) and Holly Charles (20 runs from 30 balls) to chase down the Western total in the 45th over finishing on 188/5, for the West Akshatha Rao picked up 3 for 27 from her 10 overs but it was one win apiece at the conclusion of the 50 over series.

Moving into the shorter format of T20, the Western Conference came out firing with the opening attack of teenagers Suhani Thadani (1/8 from 3 overs) and Snigdha Paul (1/14 from 4 overs) causing some real issues with stump to stump bowling and having the East just  13 for 2 as they batted first when the Powerplay was completed.  A recovery from Bhaskar (20 from 23 balls) and Holly Charles (18 from 28 balls) got the East to what looked like a below par total of 79.   Tight bowling from Isani Vaghella (2/14 from 3 overs) also kept any acceleration difficult.

In what would seem an easy run chase though the West slumped to 25 for 4 in the 8th over after some excellent bowling from Moksha Chaudhary & Sara Farooq both finishing with figures of 1 for 12 from their 4 overs.  Young quick Geetika Kodali was also lethal, claiming 2 for 15 from her 4 overs including the prized scalp of Captain Sindhu Sriharsha.   With composure well beyond her 14 years of age, Anika Kolan, batting at number 4, eased her team across the line off the last ball of the game to finish with 25 runs from 36 balls and also the Player of the Match Award.  Good assistance as well from Snidgha Paul finishing with (12 from 16) and Uzma Iftikhar (14* from 19 balls).  Western Conference 2 – 1 in the series

Game 2 in the T20 series was delayed until Saturday late afternoon with the West knowing a win would give them an unassailable lead. Western Conference won the toss, batted first and posted a solid total of 121 for 3.  Opener Gargi Bhogle got the team off to a good start with 20 runs from 27 balls however it was the partnership of Chetnaa Prasad 34* (39 balls) and Sindu Sriharsha (43* from 34 balls) that the Eastern attack didn’t have the answers to. Anika Kumar was the pick of the bowlers (2 for 10 from 10 overs) with great support from opener Moksha Chaudhary (0 for 13 from 3 overs).  

A change in the order brought Shebani Bhaskar to the top of the order and exposed a wavering batting order for the East.   Only all-rounder Holly Charles really showed any real threat to the West finishing on 24 runs from 32 balls.   East finished with a disappointing 98/6 after a brilliant bowling spell from Openers Suhani Thadani (3 for 14 from 4 overs) and Snigdha Paul (1 for 18 from 4 overs).

That meant the Western Conference were leading 3-1 and therefore assured of being crowned as Champions for 2021 with still one game left but they were looking for the clean sweep in the T20 series ahead of Sunday’s final match.

The third game in the T20 series, and 5th completed game in total, saw the Eastern/Central Conference win the toss and bat first but they had to battle throughout the innings to get up to 106 for 3 from their 20 Overs.  Shebani Bhaskar scored the bulk of the runs with a rapid 47 runs from just 39 balls and showing how destructive she can be. The West will have been eyeing up a 4-1 series win at the halfway stage but early strikes from the Eastern bowlers started casting some doubts However West have struggled chasing low scores.

Sara Farooq was again impressive with the ball, finishing with figures of 1 for 10 from 4 overs, but the West appeared to have their chasing woes behind them with Laasya Mullapudi (36 from 46 balls) putting on a 65 run partnership with Mahika Kandanala (22 from 37 balls).  However the introduction of Lisa Ramjit changed the course of the game as she took the wickets of Kandanala, Vaghela, Kolan and Sriharsha, all in quick succession, finishing with the quite brilliant figures of 4 for 17 from her four overs. The quick wickets combined with an escalating required run rate saw the West come up just short as they fell to a closing 4 run defeat. Lisa Ramjit rightly was awarded the Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match as the two sides provided the Championships with an exciting finish with the West taking the title 3-2.

Sistar Mortgage Women’s National Championships 2021

Winners: Western Conference won 3:2

Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match Game 1 (50 Overs): N/A (washout)
Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match Game 2 (50 Overs): Gargi Bhogle
Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match Game 3 (50 Overs): Nadia Gruny
Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match Game 4 (T20): Anika Kolan
Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match Game 5 (T20): Sindhu Sriharsha
Sistar Mortgage Player of the Match Game 6 (T20): Lisa Ramjit

Most Runs in Championships: Shebani Bhaskar, 133 runs
Most Wickets in Championships: Anika Kumar, 6 wickets
Sistar Mortgage Player of Tournament: Shebani Bhaskar

3-2-1 votes each game were awarded by the Coaches and Umpires for the Sistar Mortgage Player of the Tournament Award with Shebani Bhaskar taking the prize.

The Sistar Mortgage Women’s National Championships are now immediately followed by the historic inaugural Sistar Mortgage Women’s Under 19 National Championships with 4 Twenty20’s scheduled from August 11th to 13th, again in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.