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Unbeaten Chopra overwhelms Central Zone

India's premier women's cricket team Air India took on Central Zone in a key encounter of the CricInfo Rani Jhansi Trophy 2000. The venue was the AC Tech University Cricket Ground, a place where the wicket has always been slow. On the day, it was especially so, with the ball not coming onto the bat. This made it extremely difficult for batswomen to play big strokes. For the first time in the tournament, Air India captain Purnima Rau won the toss and elected to bat first. Slow wicket or not, she had faith in her batswomen. Anjum Chopra handsomely repaid that faith.

The Delhi southpaw is accustomed to opening the batting. Yet, in an attempt to capitalise on the fielding restrictions in the first fifteen overs Rau opened the innings in the company of Anju Jain. Stumper Jain looked good while she was at the crease but did not last too long. With 18 runs on the board, Jain fell. This left Anjum Chopra with a big responsibility on her broad shoulders.

As she has done so many times in the past, Chopra did not disappoint. Playing herself in with patience, Chopra whittled away at the bowling. While Rau went for the big shots over the infield, Chopra caressed the ball into the gaps. When the ball was there for the drive, she leaned into the shot and sent the ball skidding off the turf through the offside. If the ball was dropped short of a length, Chopra was quickly onto the backfoot, tucking the ball away on the leg side.

But it was the spinners who suffered most at Chopra's hands. Coming down the wicket at regular intervals, Chopra launched the ball over the off side. Given her impeccable timing, Chopra hardly hit the ball hard. Yet, the clean swing of the bat sent the ball effortlessly to the boundary. With the end of the allotted 50 overs drawing close, Air India team members frantically sent out messages to Chopra. She was nearing her century. Unmindful of this, Chopra soldiered on to make an unbeaten 89. Studded with eight boundaries of the highest pedigree, Chopra's knock came off 132 balls and took Air India to 221/4 off 50 overs.

The size of the target overwhelmed the Central Zone side so much that they just could not get started. Losing wickets at regular intervals, they were skittled out for a paltry 69. Air India had won by a thumping 152 runs. It was none other than Anjum Chopra, who scripted that victory.

CricInfo Rani Jhansi Tournament - Apr 2000

Air India Women v Central Zone Women at Chennai, 6 Apr 2000
[Scorecard | Match Reports | Over Graphs | Run-Rate Comparison]

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Anjum Chopra
Anjum Chopra

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