Mithali Raj’s Velocity displayed unflinching determination and will power to edge out the Supernovas in the first match of the Women’s T20 Challenge, in Sharjah. Supernovas let the match slip away in the last overs of both innings. Taking the field as the defending champions, Supernovas, under Harmanpreet Kaur’s leadership, were put in to bat by Velocity. Velocity restricted the Supernovas to 126-8 in 20 overs and then chased down the total with one ball to spare, much to everyone’s surprise as they were reeling at 65-4 after 13 overs.
EKTA BISHT, JAHANARA ALAM APPLY REGULAR BREAKS
Put in to bat, Supernovas had a slow and steady start, with both youngster Priya Punia and Sri Lankan hard-hitter, Chamari Athapaththu, taking their time to get their eye in. Priya, in aiming to up the ante, fell while trying to clear the infield off Leigh Kasperek. Ekta Bisht then took out one of Supernovas’ mainstays, Jemimah Rodrigues, and later went on to pick up two more wickets. The much-needed impetus to the innings was provided by Athapaththu and skipper, Kaur, who hit 4 sixes between them. However, whenever the going seemed to get tough for Velocity, their bowlers stepped up. Bangladeshi medium-pacer, Jahanara Alam bowled brilliantly and sent both Athapaththu and Kaur to the pavilion, just when they had begun to look dangerous. After Kaur’s dismissal, Supernovas struggled to get the runs could only manage 126 runs in their quota of 20 overs.
MIDDLE-ORDER STEPS UP FOR THE VELOCITY
Velocity’s chase was supposed to depend a lot on its top order, the trio of Danielle Wyatt, Shafali Verma and the captain, Mithali Raj. However, Velocity was dealt a huge blow as Ayabonga Khaka sent back Wyatt for a duck. Mithali’s innings went nowhere and she holed out while attempting to break the shackles. Shafali began on her usual explosive note, struck four boundaries, with three of them on the trot. However anticlimactically she hit a full-toss straight to the fielder stationed at cow-corner.
Veda Krishnamurthy, having displayed her fielding skills earlier, took the responsibility of steading the ship, hitting occasional boundaries. However, she too fell as the pressure of the asking run-rate mounted. The game seemed to have slipped away from Velocity’s grasp but Sushma Verma and Sune Luus had other plans. They took on the spinners-the likes of Poonam Yadav and Radha Yadav, cleared boundaries at will. Luus stayed till the end and with Shikha Pandey took Velocity home.
Brief Scores- Supernovas126/8 in 20 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 44, Harmanpreet Kaur 31; Ekta Bisht 3-22, Jahanara Alam 2-27)lost to Velocity 129/5 in 19.5 overs (Sune Luus 37*, Sushma Verma 34; Ayabonga Khaka 2-27) by five wickets.