“We did showcase our skills really well” - Veda Krishnamurthy pleased with the teams’ showing in the Maharaja Trophy 2022 exhibition matches

Veda Krishnamurthy and G Divya captained the Bengaluru Blasters and the Hubli Tigers respectively (Courtesy: maharajat20.cricket)
Veda Krishnamurthy and G Divya captained the Bengaluru Blasters and the Hubli Tigers respectively (Courtesy: maharajat20.cricket)

On a day that Chethan LR lit up the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru in a losing effort as the Gulbarga Mystics lifted the inaugural Maharaja T20 Trophy, Karnataka’s female cricketers had to watch on as the skies literally rained on their parade halfway through the first innings.

That wasn’t the only game the women’s sides of the Bengaluru Blasters and the Hubli Tigers would play as part of the Maharaja T20 Trophy 2022’s festivities though. The Veda Krishnamurthy-led Bengaluru Blasters saw out a 7-wicket win in the final over on Thursday (August 25) against a resilient Hubli Tigers side, led by state vice-captain Divya Gnanananda.

Despite what was a disappointing day for women’s cricket in Karnataka, thanks in large part to the heavens opening up and cutting short the second exhibition match organized as part of the ongoing tournament, Veda Krishnamurthy sat down with Sportskeeda to discuss the importance of playing matches like these.

The India international believes playing in games like these provides the cricketers with a “great platform” to showcase their skills. She had the following to say:

“There’s a lot of competition between these girls because we’ve got a very good bunch of youngsters and seniors in the mix. So I think this is a great platform and I’d like to thank KSCA for arranging it and both the sponsors of Hubli Tigers and Kalyani Bengaluru Blasters for coming forward and saying that we’re going to sponsor teams regardless of what it is.
And they’ve done really well to make sure that we feel like we’re part of them in the last couple of days and we did execute and showcase our skills really well in the one game that we got. Of course, the other one got washed out. But I think the intensity and the kind of entertainment you look for, especially in these kind of leagues, I think we showcased it really well and (I am) very happy with the way things have gone in these two days.”

With the domestic season only a couple of months away, these games also give the team management an opportunity to identify the kind of players that would fit into the state team’s plans ahead of a packed schedule.

From Karnataka’s perspective though, captain Veda maintains that it is about these players making the most of the opportunities presented to them, and aligning with the state's goals. The Senior Women’s T20 Trophy is slated to begin on October 11 and the hunt to identify the team’s core is on. Veda added:

A lot of them are in the reckoning for… I wouldn’t say getting into the 15 or 20. It’s about the playing XI and what someone can give to the team, what they can provide. So that is something that will always play on our minds. A lot of pressure situations were there in this one game that we played and I’m happy how a few of them have taken the opportunity, grabbed it, and showed it to us that, ‘look we’re ready for the roles that you’re thinking of,’ and that probably is going to make it a little difficult for us to see who (is going to play).
“At the end of the day, you know for a fact that these are not state games or any club cricket. It is something that everybody wants to play. These leagues are, I think, very fascinating for all the cricketers and they want to experience this at least once in their career”

“She was up for it and she took the opportunity” - Veda Krishnamurthy particularly impressed with K Prathyoosha

Shreyanka Patil is jubilant having picked up G Divya's wicket (Courtesy: maharajat20.cricket)
Shreyanka Patil is jubilant having picked up G Divya's wicket (Courtesy: maharajat20.cricket)

While the second exhibition game between the Bengaluru Blasters Women and Hubli Tigers Women was washed out, the first one did see a few encouraging performances from some not-so-usual suspects. Whether it was Aditi Rajesh’s stroke-filled 39-ball 47 for Hubli or Prerana Rajesh’s gritty 43 in the chase, there were positives aplenty for the batting on both sides even if one could have hoped for more runs from either side.

On being asked about the three youngsters who impressed her the most, though, Veda singled out 23-year-old K Prathyoosha, who, alongside Prerana, held the chase together after the Blasters lost an early wicket. With the right amounts of caution and aggression, the wicketkeeper-batter brought the perfect recipe for a run-chase that could just as easily have gone wrong.

For Veda though, Prathyoosha’s temperament to grab an opportunity that presented itself only at the very last moment was worth its weight in gold, and she made no secret of it:

“Of course I have to take Prathyoosha K’s name because of the kind of innings she played under pressure. Initially, she was not (supposed) to be batting at the number 3 position, and it was the injury to Shubha (Sateesh) that changed plans in those 5 minutes in between innings. She was up for it, and she took that opportunity. Of course, she’s been playing for the senior team for quite a while but there has always been a lot of shuffling around with the batting order. To come up and deliver that match-winning innings… so I’d like to rate that on top.”

While Aditi may have missed out on her half-century during the Hubli innings, the young all-rounder’s rescue act did not go unnoticed. The Karnataka captain was particularly impressed with how Aditi paced her innings. This came after Hubli skipper and star batter Divya struggled to get going early in the innings.

Veda also had words of praise for 20-year-old Shreyanka Patil, although her numbers in the game weren’t necessarily to write home about. In addition to contributing with the finishing touches to a chase that was mostly about Prathyoosha’s batting, Patil also crucially scalped Divya, who could have done a lot more damage had she stuck around much longer. Here’s what Veda had to say:

“The upcoming cricketers… a couple of them who I am keen on… one, of course, is Aditi. The way she went about in the first innings. She bowled really well as well. She’s an all-rounder to watch out for.
“Third, of course, is tough (to choose) but I’m very interested and very keen (to see) how Shreyanka succeeds in this format. She’s played the senior-level 50-over tournament and she’s done really well but this format is something that I was really keen to see how she’d go about showing that all-round ability that she’s got. With the bat she scored, and the turn she was generating off a wicket that was not offering much. Yes, it was slow but you didn’t see a lot of them turn on the wicket but she was able to create those opportunities and I’m very curious to see how I’m going to fit all of these pieces together.”

Just how much of a boost these youngsters (Prathyoosha aside) have given their own hopes of turning out for the Karnataka team remains to be seen. We may not have to wait too long to find out though, with the team all set to attempt to make amends for a disastrous Senior Women’s T20 trophy campaign from 2021-22 when the tournament begins in October.

However, if these two (one and a half, in typical Bengaluru style, thanks to the rain) exhibition games are anything to go by, the cricket fans from the state have much to look forward to this time around.

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Edited by Srinjoy Sanyal
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