Boasting a bevy of Canadian National Women’s players the Ontario Fire got off to a flying start on the opening day of the Canadian National Women’s T20 Championships being played at King City’s Maple Leaf Cricket Club. Fire secured successive victories in both of its opening day matches against the visiting Atlantic Canada as well as their fellow Ontarians the Heat. The double wins placed Ontario Fire firmly in pole position at the very top of the Championship’s Leaderboard at the conclusion of the first of its five days of scheduled matches.
One of the first days’ two opening matches featured both of the participating Ontario teams, Fire and Heat, pitted against each other. Batting first Heat compiled a challenging 127/6-20 overs with Saleha Maqsood (57) and Saniyah Zia (37) as the main contributors. Bowling for Ontario Fire, Hala Azmat 2/29-4 finished with the best bowling figures.
128 required from 20 overs proved to be not nearly as formidable a task for Fire’s batters as their Heat opponents would have liked. Rhea Mizra (50*) and Achini Perera (37) combined for a belligerent half-century opening partnership that required only 38 balls for its composition. Misra struck 8 fours in her 46 balls innings, while Perera was equally as aggressive, striking one six and half-a-dozen boundaries in her 25 balls stay at the crease.
Fire suffered the further losses of Canadian National wicketkeeper Maliha Baig (12) and Vandahan Mahajan (2), but the result was never ever in doubt. The target was comfortably achieved in the 18th over (17.4) for the loss of just those three wickets and with fourteen balls to spare. Kamna Mirchandi 2/20-4 and Sunita Dinakar 1/21-4 ovrs were the only wicket-takers among the six bowlers used by the Fire in their failed attempt to defend their ultimately inadequately set first strike total.
Ontario Heat 127/6 – 20 ovrs. Slaeha Maqsood 57, Saniyah Zia 37. Hala Azmat 2/29-4.
Ontario Fire 128/3-17.4 ovrs. Rhea Mizra 50*, Achini Perera 37. Kamna Mirchandi 2/20-4, Sunia Dinakar 1/21-4
Ontario Fire won by 7 wickets.
While the two Ontario sides were battling against each other so too, simultaneously, were the visiting Atlantic Canada and the Prairies in the coinciding fixture that was being played on the adjacent King City pitch. That proved to be a very low scoring encounter as Atlantic Canada taking first strike were skittled out for just 54 in 13.0 overs.
Rey Blais (26) was the only Atlantic Canada batter to reach double figures as the Prairies bowlers, led by Canadian National all-rounder Divya Saxena, sliced apart their batting. Saxena claimed 4/4-4, while Amarpal Kaur (3/28-3) and Omaima Waqar (2/7-2) were also among the wickets as Atlantic Provinces’ resistance crumbled like a proverbial deck of cards.
Set a meagre victory target of only 55 runs in 20 overs, the Prairies openers posted 57/0 in just 3.3 overs to win by 10 wickets with 16.3 overs to spare. Danielle McGahey piloted the chase with an ultra-aggressive 35, made off of just 11 balls and including 1 six and seven fours.
Atlantic Canada 54/10-13 Ovrs. Rey Blais 26. Divya Saxena 4/4-4, Amarpal Kaur 3/28-3, Omaima Waqar 2/7-2.
Prairies 59/0 – 3/3 Overs. Danielle McGahey 35, Divya Saxena 15.
Prairies won by 10 wickets.
Atlantic Canada, however, then proved to be no match for Ontario Fire when the two sides squared off against each other. Fire demonstrated its batting prowess with Achini Perera (86) and Rhea Misra combining for a massive opening partnership of 184 that was made off of 16.4 overs.
Perera was just as aggressive than she had been in her first outing, striking 10 fours before eventually falling just 14 runs short of what would have been a most deserving century. Misra’s 60 balls 66 included six boundaries. The two openers provided the backbone for the Fire’s eventual 20 overs total of 212/1. Jeewanath Kaushalya (1/35-3) was Atlantic Provinces’ solitary wicket-taker among its six bowlers used.
Seeking to get to 213 for what would have been a second successive and somewhat unexpected victory, Atlantic Province’s batters succumbed to be all out for 65 in just 17.4 overs. Jeewanthi Kaushalya (18) and Carli Leroux (15) were the only batters to reach double-figures.
Fire’s right-arm leg spinner, Terisha Bess Lavia, proved to be virtually unplayable in capturing the tournament’s very first five-wicket haul. Lavia had figures of 5/9-4 as she scythed through the Atlantic Province’s batting.
Ontario Fire 212/1-20 ovrs. Achini Perera 86, Rhea Misra 66. Jeewanath Kaushalya 1/35-3.
Atlantic Provinces 65/10-17.4 ovrs. Terisha Bess Lavia 5/9-4.
Ontario Fire won by 147 runs.
Ontario Heat meanwhile found themselves in a battle against British Columbia (BC) that ironically almost proved to be too hot for them to handle. Taking first strike BC posted a competitive 126/6 off its 20 overs with Kate Gray (35) and Sonali Vig (25) as the top-scorers. Bowling for Ontario Heat Sunita Dinakar had the best figures of 3/39-4.
Chasing 127 for victory at a required run rate of 6.35, Ontario Heat lost its first three wickets with only 43 runs on the board and with 8.1 overs having already been bowled. A fourth wicket stand of 71 between Kamma Mirchandani (40) and Saniyah Zia (40), however, steadied the innings somewhat before four further wickets fell in the space of seven balls for just an additional six runs.
Thankfully for the Heat the target was eventually reached off the third ball of the 19th over with three wickets still in hand. Sonali Vig 2/18-4 ovrs and Mukhwinder Gill 2/20-4 ovrs were BC’s bowling heroes. Ontario Heat prevailed to win by three wickets and secure their second victory in their first three Championships outings.
British Columbia 126/6-20 ovrs. Kate Gray 35, Sonali Vig 25. Sunita Dinakar 3/39-4.
Ontario Heat 127/7-19.3 ovrs. Kamma Mirchandani 40, Saniyah Zia 40. Sonali Vig 2/18-4, Mukhwinder Gill 2/20-4.
Ontario Heat won by three wickets.