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Women's T20 Challenge | Trailblazers Survive Scare in Two-run Win Over Supernovas

Cricketnext Staff |May 7, 2019, 11:11 AM IST
Women's T20 Challenge | Trailblazers Survive Scare in Two-run Win Over Supernovas

Smriti Mandhana's swashbuckling 67-ball 90 lit up the opening game of the Women's T20 Challenge as Trailblazers got the better of Supernovas by two runs but not before Harmanpreet Kaur gave them a mighty scare.

In a thrilling encounter that went down to the wire, needing 19 runs off the final over, Harmanpreet slammed Jhulan Goswami for four fours in five balls to take the side within touching distance. But with three needed off the last ball, Harmanpreet missed a wide back of a length delivery as Trailblazers scraped through to a win. Supernovas chasing Trailblazers' 140/5 were restricted to 138/6.

Harmanpreet's decision to field first was vindicated immediately with off-spinner Anuja Patil getting rid of Suzie Bates, the No.1 T20I batsman in the world, in just the second over of the day for 1. Bates looking to heave one over the on-side failed to reach the pitch of the ball and all she could manage was miscue it straight to Jemimah Rodrigues at cover, who after a slight bobble, completed the catch safely.

The Supernovas bowlers then kept Mandhana and Harleen Deol on a tight leash, giving almost nothing away in the next few overs. Trailblazers could only manage 25 runs in the Power Play and just the two fours in the first eight overs. This is when Mandhana decided to cut loose.

Having struggled with her timing early on, her signature inside-out shot between extra cover and long-off is what got the innings going. Deol too opened up her shoulders a bit but it was Mandhana who decided to go all out and she did it in some style.

The 22-year-old first creamed Sophie Devine for a boundary past point before thumping Lea Tahuhu for two fours in an over. She soon raised her half-century off 48 balls with a splendid straight drive and notched up another gear post that. She plundered a six each off Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav in consecutive overs and then slammed Sciver into the stands yet again as Trailblazers crossed the 100-run mark in the 16th over. Mandhana and Deol crafted a crucial 119-run stand for the second wicket before the latter fell for 36 caught at the long-on boundary off Devine.

Mandhana too departed soon after in the final over not getting enough power on a lofted straight drive with Chamari Athapaththu taking a neat catch at long-on off Radha. Her knock was laced with 10 fours and three glorious sixes. Trailblazers added 94 runs between overs eight to 18 and that was largely down to their captain's blazing knock.

For Supernovas, Radha was the pick of the bowlers returning figures of 2/28 while Patil and Devine picked up a wicket each.

Supernovas' chase like their opposition got off to a rocky start with Sophie Ecclestone, who turned 20 on the day, striking in her very first over. Priya Punia (1) shaping to cut, got a thick outside edge and the wicket-keeper R Kalpana did well to hold onto the chance in the third attempt.

Jemimah Rodrigues and Athapaththu then got together and both players rode on their luck to take the chase going. Rodrigues got a life when Deepti Sharma failed to hold onto a catch at mid-on while Athapaththu was dropped twice off consecutive balls with Selman being the unlucky bowler on all three occasions.

Both players though couldn't make the most of their chances. Rodrigues struck four crisp fours during her knock but a brilliant direct-hit by Selman in her followthrough sent her back for 24.

Athapaththu too couldn't last long falling a few overs later caught when she mishit Rajeshwari Gayakwad straight to Ecclestone at long-on to fall for 26. Supernovas lost Sciver as well soon after with Gayakwad claiming her second wicket of the night to slip to 63/3.

With the required rate soaring well above eight an over, Supernovas needed to up the ante and who better that Harmanpreet to provide that. She found an able ally in Devine and the duo brought out all their experience to get the chase back on track.

Harmanpreet's back to back fours off Deol was followed by Devine smashing Selman twice over to the fence but Trailblazers still kept the runs in check. The equation boiled down to Supernovas needing 31 in the last three overs and then 21 off 12. It was still a possibility with the two big-hitters out in the middle but Ecclestone bowled a nerveless penultimate over conceding just two runs along with trapping Devine lbw for 32 (22b).

With 19 needed off the captain plundered four fours, one of which almost made it all the way. In the end, the fine margins were what cost Supernovas. Harmanpreet finished unbeaten on a brilliant 34-ball 46.

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