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Supernovas pack a punch in T20 Challenge opener against Trailblazers

It was the perfect platform for the players to show their potential. And they shone, especially the batters.

Published: 24th May 2022 12:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2022 12:57 AM   |  A+A-

The Trailblazers players celebartes after won the match during the final of the Women's T20 Challenge 2020 against Supernovas in UAE.

The Trailblazers players celebartes after won the match during the final of the Women's T20 Challenge 2020 against Supernovas in UAE. (Photo | IPLT20/BCCI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: As the last edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge — that's the expectation — kicked off in Pune with Smriti Mandhana’s Trailblazers taking on Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas, there was one key difference from previous editions. Because of the pandemic, the senior T20 league took place just a couple of weeks before the T20 Challenge.

It was the perfect platform for the players to show their potential. And they shone, especially the batters. The stand out stat from the tournament was that as many as 16 batters had struck at over 125 while scoring more than 100 runs. There was no telecast, but from the scorecards it was clear the batters' scoring rates had gone up significantly.

With the likes of Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews and Sune Luus added to the mix, this Women’s T20 Challenge was always expected to be entertaining. But there was a bit of anticipation as to how the tournament was going to start; who was going to kick the event off as Matthews did during the 2022 ODI World Cup in March.

As Harmanpreet opted to bat, it was clear who that potentially could be — Deandra Dottin. However, it was Priya Punia who hit the first six of the match as she launched Rajeshwari Gayakwad, brought in to counter Dottin, downtown. The West Indies all-rounder joined the party in the next over, smashing Renuka Singh down the ground for back-to-back boundaries before finishing it with one through midwicket. Punia, at the other end, was using her finesse and timing to guide Gayakwad to the ropes. When it seemed like Supernovas were cruising at 50/0 in 4.5 overs, a misunderstanding between the batters led to the run out of Dottin for 32 from 17 balls.

In the past, it could have pulled the momentum back. Harleen Deol, at No 3, would have none of it as she took the attack to Matthews. Even when she got rid of Punia in her next over, Harleen kept it going with consecutive boundaries on either side of the pitch as Supernovas reached 92/2 in 10 overs.

While Trailblazers pulled things back, with spinners conceding just 31 runs and taking two wickets in the next five overs, Harmanpreet launched a counter, sweeping Gayakwad to the ropes. As she got out for 37 runs from 29 balls, Supernovas scrapped their way to 163 — the highest total in the nine matches played in the tournament, surpassing Supernovas’ 146/6 against Trailblazers in 2020.

In reply, Mandhana and Matthews started off in a very similar fashion, with the former not letting Karnataka spinner Chandu V settle. Although Pooja Vastrakar dismissed Matthews in her first, Trailblazers skipper kept it going with Jemimah Rodrigues. They added 24 runs from 14 balls before Punia took a sharp catch off Vastrakar to get rid off Mandhana for 34 off 23. Three balls later, Punia repeated it as Sophia Dunkley was back in the pavilion.

From 65/3, Trailblazers went down on a spiral losing four wickets in as many overs for just eight runs. Vastrakar was Supernovas’ shining star as she took four wickets for just 12 runs in her four overs. 

Rodrigues (24) tried to wage a lone battle, but Harleen took a stunning catch to end the hopes of Trailblazers. In the end, they scrapped their way to 114/9, losing by 49 runs.

Brief scores: Supernovas 163 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet 37; Matthews 3/29) bt Trailblazers 114/9 in 20 ovs (Mandhana 34; Vastrakar 4/12).



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