The Rajasthan Royals School Girls’ Cup, the first of its kind in the state, was a massive success. Jaipur hosted as many as 7 games, including the final, were played between 4 schools. The opening ceremony of the tournament was hosted in presence of all the four participating teams, coaches, school staff and parents on 27th Morning, at Jaipuria Cricket Academy in Jaipur.
Some of the matches had local support running in excess of 500 fans watching from the boundary lines. The girls were accompanied by their parents and guardians, who showered immense support for the schools.
The tournament was spread across three days at one venue – Jaipuria Cricket Academy. St. Teresa topped the league phase and claimed their direct entry into the final after beating all 3 teams on Days 1 & 2. Mayo College Girls’ School & Maharani Gayatri Devi (MGD) School came 2nd & 3rd in the league stage. The tournament then moved into one semi-final on Day 2 and the final on Day 3. Both the games were fiercely contested.
Semi Final: Mayo vs MGD
MGD comes straight after a loss to St Teresa into the semi-final, whereas Mayo came after a win over Jaipuria. However, both teams shifted their focus to qualifying to the final. The two teams are also the only two school girls' teams from Rajasthan to have participated at the IPSC U19 Cricket Tournament. History has it that any match between these two schools resulted in fiery vibes and attitude, and the competition resembles that of India vs Pakistan.
MGD had won the toss and elected to bat. Before the match, the team was seen receiving a pep talk from their school teachers. In less than an hour, Mayo was all out for just 37 runs after 16 overs. MGD fabulously chased the target in 6 overs, securing their place in the final. The player of the big semi-final was - Ritika Agarwal, who also received a special token of appreciation - a RR Team cap for taking an unbelievable hat-trick maiden. The loss came hard on to Mayo, who had performed brilliantly in their previous league stage matches.
Final: St. Teresa vs MGD
St. Teresa were the much spoken about favourites to win the maiden Rajasthan Royals School Girls’ Cup final. MGD on the other hand was charged up and high in spirits. MGD won the toss and elected to field.
As St. Teresa went on to bat, the opener Sanya had her feet steady and managed to put up a brilliant 43 off 58 balls for her team before getting run out. After 10 overs, there seemed to be no stopping St. Teresa, who had posted 54/1. MGD seemed to be struggling a bit with the ball. However, the team kept motivating each other on the ground and stepped up with 3 run-outs in quick succession. The one wicket by Yashasvi Katta was the only wicket which was not a run out. after struggling through the last five overs, St Teresa was restricted to a score of 112 runs, their lowest total throughout the series.
As the second innings began, our chief guest, Rajasthan Royals’ fielding coach, Dishant Yagnik was confident this would be a thriller and that the game would go to the final ball. MGD had a poor start losing 3 wickets for 15 runs. The fourth wicket partnership between Royal Sparks - Yashasvi and Jyotsna surpassed 100 and came to MGD's rescue, managing to bring them back in contention to be champions.
At the end of 18 overs, MGD need 7 runs to win. The nail-biting match had the audience on the edge of their seats. Dishant Yagnik and the Rajasthan Royals COO, Jake lush McCrum were thrilled with the level of competition. Four dot balls, and a quick wicket had MGD in a tight spot, requiring 7 runs to win of one over.
MGD required their set batter Yashasvi, now on 48, to be on strike. MGD lost a wicket on the first ball of the final over, but fortunately for MGD, Yashwasvi was on strike. The tension in the environment was rising rapidly as the match could go anywhere from here. With MGD needing 6 runs off 4 balls to win, St. Teresa bowlers kept their nerves calm, taking MGD to 2 runs off the last ball. Everyone around the field were standing up, waiting for the final ball. The field was being set again, the fielders came in, and Yashasvi Katta was on strike.
AND YORKER. Yashasvi could not take the ball out of the 30 yard line, and the fielders were too quick to send the ball back to the wicket keeper. The run-out meant that St Teresa won by 2 runs, restricting MGD to 111. Tears of joy and celebrations followed for champions, St. Teresa; tears of heartbreak for MGD ensued at the other end of the field. Dishant Yagnik was seen interacting with both the teams after the innings. He praised the two teams for their enormous efforts and reminded them that this is just the beginning.
Here are all the awards that were given away after the final.
Player of the Tournament - Yashasvi Katta, MGD, 88 runs and 5 wickets
Best Batter – Komal, St. Teresa, 69 runs
Best Bowler - Archana, St. Teresa - 6 wickets
The first ever Rajasthan Royals School Girls’ Cup was a massive success. Rajasthan got a taste of a competitive school girls tournament, and the girls were very excited throughout the tournament. Many of these girls have the potential to be Royal Sparks and the future stars of Indian cricket.