PUNE: Supernovas defeated Velocity by 4 runs in a nail-biting final of the Women’s T20 Challenge to clinch the tournament for the 3rd time. Here are the highlights of the high-voltage encounter:
‘Dashing’ Dottin: Deandra Dottin was the first woman to crack a T20I century back in 2010 which came off just 38 balls. It is still the fastest century by a woman in the T20Is. The dashing batter of Supernovas lived up to her reputation on Saturday and reeled off a 44-ball 62 after Velocity opted to field. Her innings included 4 monumental sixes and a boundary.
She was dropped by Sneh Rana, who had grassed two catches in the last match as well, in the 4th over when she was batting at 23. Dottin meted out a stinging punishment to Rana for her slip-up when she clobbered two colossal sixes over deep mid-wicket in Rana’s first over as Supernovas raced to 46 runs in the Powerplay.
Dottin got another reprieve when another catch of her went down in the 10th over off the medium-pacer Simran Bahadur. Bahadur was unlucky in the last match as three catches were grassed off her bowling. Even after her opening partner Priya Punia fell, Dottin continued to coast and brought her fifty, which came in 33 balls, in the 11th over by smacking left-arm spinner Radha Yadav for a six.
She and Supernovas captain Harmanpreet Kaur added 58 runs in 5 overs for the second wicket before being cleaned up by the off-spinner Deepti Sharma in the 15th over as she tried to play a lap sweep.
She also snaffled two important wickets as a bowler and her all-round show was instrumental in Supernovas’ win.
Harmanpreet leading from the front… again: Supernovas captain Harmanpreet, who had scored 71 and 37 in her last two matches, once again came good and scored a brisk 43. Her innings was embellished with three sixes, all of which were slog-sweeps and against Radha Yadav. In the 12th over, she garnered 16 runs by walloping two sixes and a boundary.
Though spinners bowled outside the off-stump to curtail her from sweeping, that didn’t deter Harmanpreet from playing her favourite shot with supreme authority.
Late collapse: At one stage, Supernovas were galloping at 131-1 in the 15th over but Dottin’s wickets triggered a stunning collapse. Velocity bowlers clawed back and not only contained runs but also chalked up wickets. Pooja Vastrakar, Sophie Ecclestone, Sune Luus and Harleen Deol were dismissed in single digits in quick succession. Harmanpreet also fell for 43 in the 18th over.
Supernovas eked out only 34 runs in the last 5 overs and reached 165-7 in 20 overs.
Velocity’s blazing start: The openers of Velocity – Shafali Verma and Yastika Bhatia – launched a kamikaze attack and unleashed an array of boundaries in the first two overs. Shafali opened her account by guiding Mansi Joshi to the third man for a four in the first over and hammered two boundaries off left-arm spinner Ecclestone in the next over.
Yastika also crunched a couple of scorching pull shots off Mansi in the first over to accumulate two fours. Chasing 166, Velocity raced to 28 runs in just two overs.
Disastrous collapse: Velocity’s charge was scuppered by medium-pacer Dottin in the 3rd over as Shafali tried to play a cut but ended up being caught behind the wickets. Ecclestone also came back strongly and removed Yastika in her next over as the batter tried to work the ball on the leg-side but the ball came a bit late and she returned an easy catch to the bowler.
Kiran Navgire had stunned everyone in the last match by whipping out a whirlwind 69 off just 34 balls but looked completely out of sorts in the crucial final. She was at the crease for 13 balls but failed to open her account and was dismissed for a duck as she stepped out and tried to biff a six. Strangely, she played both the best and worst innings of the tournament.
Natthakan Chantham and skipper Deepti Sharma also perished soon and Velocity were reduced to 64-5 in 11 overs.
The lone wolf, Laura Wolvaardt: Amid the tumult, Wolvaardt was the only one who exhibited gumption and fought a lone battle. She stitched a 40-run partnership with Rana for the sixth wicket and gave a sliver of hope to Velocity.
However, the required run-rate soared and other batters kept falling under pressure. Wolvaardt reached her half-century off 34 balls in the 18th over by punching leg-spinner to deep cover and ultimately remained unbeaten at 65 off just 40 balls.
Stunning finale: Velocity needed 34 runs in the last two overs with just two wickets in hand. But the left-hander Simran Bahadur created ripples by clouting three boundaries – two of them lofted over mid-off – against Vastrakar and mustered 17 runs in the over.
Wolvaardt whacked Ecclestone’s first ball of the 20th over for a six over deep mid-wicket and the equation came down to 11 runs in 5 balls. But the left-arm spinner held her nerves and yielded only 6 runs in the next 4 balls. In the end, Velocity managed 161-8 and lost the match by 4 runs.