Rajasthan Royals (RR), a proud cricketing franchise after making their first impression in the Indian Premier League (IPL) grew to build sister franchises across other male events, but much more importantly continue to put forward their best foot in promoting and opening opportunities for girls in the game and recently came forward, this time alongside Rajasthan Cricket Association, in organizing the RR Women’s Cup 2022.
The recently concluded competition was open to all age groups across the state (Rajasthan) to provide an opportunity for female cricketers to take part in the RR Women’s Cup. First, in Jodhpur, on the 16th of September, a trial was conducted from which players were then filtered for the competition that took place from the 17th to the 19th of September 2022.
As many as six teams took part in the inaugural edition of the RR Women’s Cup which saw the state’s six major cities in ‘Jaipur’ Warriors, ‘Jodhpur’ Gladiators, ‘Udaipur’ Thunderbolts, ‘Ajmer’ Blazers, ‘Kota’ Mavericks and ‘Bikaner’ Strikers forming the 6 teams for the competition that eventually saw Bikaner Strikers crowned champions of the RR Women’s Cup 2022 and Jaipur Warriors finish as runners up.
The final saw Bikaner continue their fine form with the ball as Ankita Mahla struck in the 4th over and Sonal’s double strike restricted the Jaipur Warriors to 21/3 inside the first 5 overs. The pair of Arju Bishnoi and Manisha Kuntal helped the Warriors make a comeback with a 42-run stand that saw curtains with the wicket of Manisha Kuntal as she was trapped lbw by the in-form Maina Siyol, who claimed her 6th wicket of the competition. Koushalya’s 22-ball-25 pushed the Warriors to finish on the score of 101 for the loss of 5 wickets.
Strikers in reply had a poor start as on-song Warriors struck 3 early wickets inside the powerplay overs. The Strikers when looked to rebuild, could only do so from an end as a batter managed to score 20 and wickets continued to tumble on the other end which saw the side lose 6 inside 12 overs. The pair of Ankita Mahla and Maina Siyol stepped up and bailed their side out of trouble with an invaluable 25-run stand in guiding their team to closing out on the total before the two were dismissed in the 17th and 18th overs respectively. Anamika Dhabhai came in and with her side requiring 6 off 14 balls, closed the thrilling game out with only 2 wickets in hand and Archana Saini-led Bikaner Strikers remained unbeaten throughout the competition.
Bikaner Strikers crowned champions of Rajasthan Royals Women’s Cup 2022
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) September 20, 2022
• Sonal Kalal for her spell of 4-1-18-2 for Bikaner Strikers’ in the final bagged the Player of the Mach award.
• Jaipur Warriors’ Arju Bishnoi’s scored 122 runs across 3 games, including a half-century which got her to win the Player of the Tournament award.
• Ajmer Blazers’ Tanuja Vaishnav for her 95 runs off two league-stage matches which included a blistering 43-ball-65, helped her win the Batter of the Tournament award.
• Maina Siyol, in the opener, claimed a hat-trick and finished the competition with 6 wickets to her name to win the Bowler of the Tournament award.
Rajasthan Royals batter Riyan Parag was at the venue and was seen interacting with the players after the match and expressed his thoughts on the competition stating, “It was evident from the quality of cricket I saw today that they have great potential, and to be able to witness it live was extra special for me as well. My message to them was to be confident in themselves no matter the situation, and believe that they can be the world’s best. The skill set that they have is good and with some guidance and persistence, they will certainly excel.”
Romi Bhinder, Royals Head of High-Performance Operations on the talent pool he’s witnessed over the past few days stated, “When you talk about Rajasthan, it has always had the talent, but for us, it has been about providing a platform to this huge pool of talent. In the past few days, I’ve seen immense quality and potential, and our ambition now will be to make sure that they are provided with the right guidance and opportunities in the future as well.”