Celeste Superwomen scored a comfortable 15-run victory over Manas Panjim Gymkhana in the opening match of the Goa Women’s Premier League (GWPL) at Goa Cricket Association academy ground, Porvorim, on Saturday night.
Electing to bat, Celeste Superwomen posted a total of 107/7 in a truncated 17-over floodlit match. Manas Panjim Gymkhana were restricted to 92/8 in reply. All-rounder Sayali Lonkar of Celeste Superwomen was named the player of the match as she provided an impetus to their innings with a confident knock of 36 runs off 29 balls, which included six boundaries, before getting amongst the wickets and playing a part in crucial run-outs. The Maharashtra middle-order batter combined with Preeti Yadav (30 off 26 balls, 5×4) for a 36-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Earlier, opener Jasia Akhtar, who was with Delhi Capitals in the recent Tata WPL, played some powerful shots for a 12-ball 18 with three of those hits making it to the fence. Captain and wicket-keeper Vinavi Gurav contributed 14 runs off 18 balls, consisting two boundaries.
Leg-spinner Poonam Khemnar (3/20) was the most successful of the Manas Panjim Gymkhana bowlers as she picked the wickets of dangerous Jasia, Vinavi and Sayali.
India team-member and MPG captain Shikha Pandey, fresh from her impressive performance with the ball for Delhi Capitals in Tata WPL where she took 10 wickets, started the proceedings well with good pace and trademark swing as she yorked Riya Naik (0) in the first over itself. Shikha, who returned to trap Poorva Bhaidkar (0) LBW in her second spell, had a return of 2/23 in her four overs. Harshada Kadam took one wicket.
Manas Panjim Gymkhana suffered a mini-batting collapse at the half-way stage after a 29-run partnership for the second wicket between Resha Korgaonkar and Tejal Hasabnis had brought them to 43-1 in the eighth over when off-spinner Sayali Lonkar got the breakthrough, dismissing Resha (17 off 21 balls) caught and bowled.
Sayali was then instrumental in two more dismissals via run-out, as Poonam Khemnar and Shikha Pandey were out on successive deliveries in the ninth over with MPG running out of steam at 52/4. Tejal was the lone batter to offer a strong resistance as she struck five boundaries in her run-a-ball 35-run knock, which was ended by Lonkar, who picked two wickets to go with her fine batting earlier in a match-winning performance. MPG lower order caved in meekly in the face of some tight bowling by Celeste Superwomen, with the likes of Poorva Bhaidkar (1/14) and Sweety Parab (1/24) making an impression.
Earlier, the Goa Women’s Premier League trophy was unveiled in the presence of officials, team owners and captains of all five participating teams, which also include Venture XI, Geno Dragons and MCC Estilo Legends. The tournament has been organised by Vinayak Decorators and hosted by GCA.