[File photo] Mithali Raj's unbeaten 100 helped Railways win while Jhulan Goswami helped Bengal beat MP by three runs. © Wisden India

[File photo] Mithali Raj’s unbeaten 100 helped Railways win while Jhulan Goswami helped Bengal beat MP by three runs. © Wisden India

Mithali Raj’s century at the top of the order and Jhulan Goswami’s all-round performance helped Railways and Bengal respectively secure narrows wins in the Elite Super League stage of the Senior Women’s T20 League 2016-17 on Tuesday (January 10) at the Railway Cricket Ground, Rajkot.

Railways v Hyderabad
Raj blasted a rare T20 domestic century off 66 balls, which included 13 fours and one six, while Punam Raut made 66 off 58 balls as the duo’s unbroken first-wicket stand set up Railways’ nine-run win over Hyderabad.

Hyderabad’s bowlers weren’t able to contain the two openers, with all except Ananya Upendran (0-14) going for at least 9 an over, as the defending champions posted 167.

Hyderabad, who qualified for the Super League after finishing second in Elite Group B, began the chase well. Sravanthi Naidu, the captain, and Ramya put on a 110-run opening partnership, with both scoring brisk fifties.

Ekta Bisht got the first wicket of match, removing Ramya for 68, and that slowed down their chase. Poonam Yadav picked up 2 for 27 while Swagatika Rath was economical in her four overs, picking up one wicket and conceding only 23. Naidu remained not out on a 58-ball 73, but economical bowling by Railways ensured that Hyderabad fell short of the target.

Brief scores: Railways 167/0 in 20 overs (Mithali Raj 100 n.o., Punam Raut 66 n.o.) beat Hyderabad 158/4 in 20 overs (Ramya 68, Sravanthi Naidu 73 n.o.; Poonam Yadav 2-27) by 9 runs.

Bengal v Madhya Pradesh
Two run-outs in the final over and Goswami’s tight bowling helped Bengal defend a small target of 125 to beat Madhya Pradesh by three runs.

Bengal, who had finished second behind Railways in Group A, were in a spot of trouble early on, losing three wickets inside the first five overs with the score at 13. Mandira Mahapatra rescued her team, pushing the total past 100 with her 56 off 46 balls, which included four fours. Goswami, the captain, chipped in with a quick-fire 33 off 22 balls, including three fours and a six.

The MP bowlers were economical, with Charu Joshi taking two wickets at 4 runs an over and Priti Yadav going at an economy-rate of 2.5.

The MP chase was rocked at the start through Goswami picking up two wickets in consecutive overs, but Ruchita Buley and Tamanna Nigam brought the chase back on track. Buley scored a measured 41 off 50 balls, keeping things steady for Nidhi Buley, the captain, to slam 32 off 23 balls, including three fours.

When Ruchita was run-out by PB Pandey, MP needed 16 off 11 balls. It was up to Goswami to bowl the final over and propel Bengal to victory. She succeeded, conceding seven runs to finish with 2 for 14 in four overs.

Brief scores:
Bengal 124/5 in 20 overs (Mandira Mahapatra 56, Jhulan Goswami 33 n.o.; Charu Joshi 2-16) beat Madhya Pradesh 121/4 in 20 overs (Ruchita Buley 41, Nidhi Buley 32, Tamanna Nigam 22; J Goswami 2-14) by 3 runs.

NOTE: The four teams will play the Super League in a round-robin format.