GROUND REPORT: Shafali, Wolvaardt Eclipse Harmanpreet As Velocity Cruise To 7-wkt Win

| Updated: 24 May, 2022 7:27 pm IST
Sensational Shafali Verma

PUNE: Riding on blazing fifties by Shafali Verma and Laura Wolvaardt, Velocity on Tuesday chased down 151 in just 18.2 overs to rout Supernovas by seven wickets in match 2 of the Women’s T20 Challenge tournament.

Supernovas had won the first match of the tournament by 49 runs against Trailblazers.

Here are the highlights of the encounter:

Searing opening spell by Kate Cross: The right-arm English pacer turned in a fantastic opening spell of three overs as she bowled with zest and appreciable control to prise out opener Priya Punia and Harleen Deol.

Punia began well by cutting the first ball of the match, bowled by Cross, for a boundary but perished in the same over as she lobbed an easy catch at cover to Ayabonga Khaka.

Harleen survived a close lbw appeal on the first ball but was eventually dismissed in Cross’ next over. She tried to flick the ball but was foxed by the subtle change of pace and the thick top edge was grabbed by Laura Wolvaardt.

Robust partnership between Harmanpreet and Taniya Bhatia: After Supernovas lost three wickets quickly, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Taniya Bhatia exhibited calm and put together a fine 82-run partnership. Bhatia was a tad tentative early on as she almost chopped medium-pacer Khaka onto the wickets in the 6th over. However, she soon gained confidence and smashed the same over for two boundaries in the 8th over. First, she reeled off a flat-batted pull and then flicked her through mid-on as Khaka wavered in length.

Only 17 runs came between 9 to 12 overs as both Bhatia and Kaur focused on rebuilding the innings. Kaur ended the drought by carting away leg-spinner Maya Sonwane for a four over mid-wicket and then tonked her over long-on for a huge six.

Bhatia was unlucky to be run out for 36 in the 15th over but by then they had added 82 runs for the fourth wicket.

‘Turbocharged’ Kaur: Skipper Harmanpreet led from the front and played a terrific innings. She was measured in her approach and didn’t take unnecessary risks after three wickets fell in quick succession.

Harmanpreet Kaur

 

But she was quick to pounce on loose balls and gather boundaries. She relied heavily on sweep shots against spinners such as Sonwane, Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana. She was especially harsh on Sonwane and Rana who bowled slightly shorter and were punished.

After she reached her fifty in the 17th over, off 42 balls, Harmanpreet clocked up 15 runs off Rana in the next over. She started by sweeping for a boundary to backward square-leg and then launched her over deep mid-wicket for a mammoth six. She ended the over by waltzing down the track and hammering Rana over her head for a boundary. She was ultimately cleaned up by left-arm spinner Radha Yadav in the 19th over for 71.

Sune Luus played a fine cameo in the end as Supernovas reached 150-5 in 20 overs.

Sensational Shafali: The youngest ever to play T20I for India, Shafali Verma once again dispelled any lingering doubts about her pedigree by walloping the fastest fifty ever (30 balls) in the history of the Women’s T20 Challenge tournament.

She started off by dancing down the track to left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and smiting her for a boundary. Though she lost her opening partner, Natthakan Chantham, in the second over, Shafali remained undaunted as she gathered two boundaries in the next over off Meghna Singh.

Even Pooja Vastrakar, who chalked up four wickets in the last match, wasn’t spared as Shafali launched a stinging onslaught by driving her down the ground and then cutting her through point for consecutive boundaries.

She displayed an array of shots as she cut, pulled and drove with fierce audacity and delighted a smattering of spectators who had come to see the match. She got a life when in the 5th over, Deandra Dottin grassed a catch at the point as Shefali tried to slice the ball.

Making good use of the chance, she continued the rampage and bludgeoned off-spinner V Chandu for a huge six over long-on. She racked up her fifty in the 9th by driving Alana King for a single to long-off.

Velocity were cruising at 77-2 in 9 overs and it looked as if Shafali would finish the match in just 15 overs. However, Harmanpreet pulled off a screamer of a catch at the short third-man in the 10th over to send her back to the pavilion for 51.

Wolvaardt’s finishing touches: After Shafali’s departure, Wolvaardt took the center stage and unleashed a string of delectable shots. She and captain Deepti Sharma dashed the hopes of Supernovas who were looking to stage a comeback after Shafali’s wicket.

The South African Wolvaardt was especially strong on the back-foot as she sliced and cut balls which were even marginally short. She launched for a monumental six over long-on on the first ball of the 19th over to notch up her fifty and level the score. The next ball, bowled by Dottin, was wide and sealed the seven-wicket victory for Velocity.

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