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Goa girls eye flawless show against Team Rajasthan

Story: NIRAJ | PRABHU | 08th December 2017, 07:31 Hrs

After the nervy, narrow win against Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, Goa coach Devieka Palshikaar's basic reaction was, "a victory is a victory after all, does not matter how they come, but they should keep winning". However, the former India cricketer-turned-coach has a strong belief in the Goan girls and it is now time for Shikha Pandey's team to put up a polished display against Team Rajasthan in their second match of the BCCI senior women's one-dayers league at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on Friday.
Goa's opening day success was a pleasant news for the State cricket fraternity, which has been starved of victory all season so far - across all (men, youth, girls) State teams. The women's cricket team's two-wicket win in Plate Group C gave them four points and has also sparked expectations from the cricket lovers
in the State.
Particularly with India international all-rounder Shikha, being the skipper, Goa expect the competitive opening bowler and a strong middle-order batter to bring all her experience into play and guide youngsters in the team.
Coach Palshikaar however was shocked at the failure of the middle-order against Chhattisgarh. "The middle-order then just collapsed to my surprise. In fact, we have a lot of experience here. I am expecting the batters to fire in the next game by learning from the mistakes in this match," she said after the match.
The fact that Shikha (13), Sunanda Yetrekar (8) and Sanjula Naik (0) could only manage to contribute 21 runs between them, while chasing a paltry target of 105 runs is inexplicable. While Shikha had bowled excellently picking up four wickets, she will be hurting at her cheap dismissal with the bat. Sunanda and Sanjula, too, will be eyeing a better performance against Team Rajasthan.
Nevertheless, the failure of the batting spine gave the lower-order a chance to prove their mettle and credit to Bharati Gaonkar (22 runs off 44 balls, 3 boundaries) and Vanita Bhandari (18 not out off 38 balls, 1 boundary) for displaying the determination to take Goa to the verge of victory before Diksha Gawde (3 not out), who has broken into the senior team through the under-19 set-up, slugged it out for 14 deliveries, and helped her team to cross the line.
Diksha is one of the three junior players promoted to the main team; Tejeshwini Duragad and Shindiya Naik being the other two in the playing XI. A lot is expected out of batting all-rounder Tejeshwini, who has been selected to represent the South Zone U-19 team at the Inter-Zonals to be played in Agartala early next year.
While the batting department has a lot to improve on, coach Palshikaar praised Goa's bowling show as near flawless with 19-year-old left-arm spinner Rupali Chavan leading the charge with very impressive figures of 10-6-8-4 to complement Shikha (10-3-26-4). Opening batter and new-ball bowler Nikita Malik also had a good outing against Chhattisgarh as she had figures of 8-3-21-1, before scoring 15 runs (34 balls, 3 boundaries) at the top of the Goan batting order.
Meanwhile, Team Rajasthan will be hoping to taste their first victory in the competition after having suffered a 42-run defeat to Tripura on Wednesday. Tripura scored 185/6 in their allotted 50 overs before bowling out Team Rajasthan for 143 in 40.5 overs. That sets the stage for a keen contest at the Mecca of Indian cricket, Eden Gardens!

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