As many as 13 out of 17 wickets on day two were snapped up by off-spinners across both teams in the final of the Senior Women’s Inter Zonal Multi-Day trophy between East and South Zone at the Maharashtra Cricket Association here on Wednesday.

East could only add 21 runs to its overnight score of 108, with South skipper Minnu Mani and S. Sajana sharing five wickets between them. Minnu caught Titas Sadhu off her own bowling to complete a five-wicket haul, her second of the tournament, which left East still trailing by four runs.

South gave a relatively better account of itself with the bat in the second innings. The gamble to bump Trisha Poojitha up the order to open with Miriyala Durga did not work with Monikha Das dismissing her in the fourth over. Durga then teamed up with G Kamalini for a 41-run stand off 81 balls for the second wicket, wearing the East bowlers down with a simple defence.

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Deepti dismissed Kamalini, caught by wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh. Tamanna Nigam could add only seven runs before she was trapped leg before by the East skipper. Minnu Mani then joined Durga for what would be the most crucial partnership of the innings. The pair wore down the opponents with a stand of 61 runs in 166 balls for the fourth wicket, with constant encouragement and input from the South dugout to boot.

Minnu, who is often dismissed after a certain haste creeps into her game, was calm and assured as she defended ball after ball to carry South to safety. Durga, meanwhile, completed a hardy half century but would soon be dismissed by Dhara Gujjar for a 130-ball 64. She also made a fifty in the semifinal and has come good for South when the side has had its back to the wall.

After Minnu found her stumps rattled by Annapurna Das, Deepti made a meal of the tail, claiming four out of five wickets to wind up with a target of 183 to win the title. She finally finished with six scalps to her name, taking her tournament tally to 27, head and shoulders above the rest of the field.

Deepti pushed herself down the order for the chase with Uma Chetry and Durga Murmu opening the batting. However, Arundhati — who celebrated her birthday on Wednesday — pegged one back in South’s favour, trapping Durga plumb before the wicket. Sajana was introduced towards the end of day’s play and struck in her third over, taking out the dangerous Dhara.

With 154 runs still needed to win and two days to get them, East has plenty of batting stocks to come and will be confident of seeing this campaign through to the podium. However, a spunky South side is charged up to do all it takes to turn the tables on day 3.


South Zone: 133 and 179 in 70.5 overs (M Durga 64, Minnu Mani 31, Deepti Sharma 6/61) vs East Zone: 129 in 43.4 overs (Richa Ghosh 25, Minnu 5/47) and 30/2 in 13.2 Overs (Dhara Gujjar 13)

Toss: South