Harmanpreet Kaur led-Supernovas won the thriller last-ball final in the Women’s T20 Challenge over Velocity at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on May 11.
Supernovas won the toss and opted to field first, asking Velocity to bat first. Supernovas had a dream start as Lea Tahuhu provided with the first breakthrough. Her outswinger sent Hayley Matthews in the dugout with an easy catch to Taniya Bhatia for a duck. In the following over, in-form Danielle Wyatt missed Anuja Patil’s delivery which led her to be stumped by Bhatia for a duck.
The third over was seen another dismissal of in-form 15-year-old kid Shafali Verma; who smashed two back to back boundaries off Lea Tahuhu over mid-on and a pull shot respectively but Tahuhu had the last laugh. She fell for 11 off 6 and Velocity were reduced to 14-3 after 3 overs.
The pressure fell upon the middle order batters, Mithali Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy. While Mithali Raj took on Anuja Patil for two consecutive boundaries, Veda Krishnamurthy ht Tahuhu for two boundaries in the 5th over and they put up 35 runs in the powerplay. But that didn’t stay long as a brilliant glove-work of Bhatia sent Krishnamurthy in for 8.
The following over was seen the end of skipper Mithali Raj’s innings for 12 when she tried to loft the ball over the circle but totally mistimed that and ended up giving an easy catch to Sophie Devine at mid-on. Supernovas were reduced to 37-5 after 8 overs. Then Sushma Verma and Amelia Kerr came to their side’s rescue. Both resurrect the innings by playing sensible knocks. While Amelia Kerr scored a 38-ball 36, Sushma Verma remained unbeaten for 40 off 32 including 3 boundaries and a six and took the team to 121 on board after 20 overs.
For Supernovas, Lea Tahuhu took 2 wickets while Anuja Patil, Sophie Devine, Natalie Sciver and Poonam Yadav claimed one each.
While chasing a low total, Supernovas started with a big blow as Chamari Athapaththu was run out in the second over for 2 with a brilliant execution by Ekta Bisht and Sushma Verma. However, it was Priya Punia who took on Shikha Pandey for three boundaries in the third over while Jemimah Rodrigues took on Hayley Matthews in the fourth over. Both took the team to 31 after the powerplay.
They added 44 runs before Rodrigues fell for 22 off 25 while giving an easy return catch to Amelia Kerr. Priya Punia was next to follow her in the following over. In the 12th over, Jahanara Alam bowled Natalie Sciver for mere 2 while Devine too failed to impress and bowled by Alam for3 and left her side struggling at 64-5 after 14 overs.
Pressure fell upon Harmanpreet Kaur who found great support in Lea Tahuhu. She hit Ekta Bisht for a four and a six in the 15th over and took the equation to 45 runs needed in the final five overs. At that time, bowlers failed to restrict Harmanpreet Kaur as she utilised every chance that she got, scoring 51 off 37 including 4 boundaries and 3 sixes before a dived catch of Hayley Matthews at deep extra cover off Amelia Kerr sent her in the dugout left her side in the situation when 5 needed off 3.
Radha Yadav came to the crease, took two doubles in the next two balls and a four from the final ball sealed the deal for Supernovas. They won the title consecutively for two years with a final ball thriller. Though she hit the winning runs, Kaur’s innings made the winning foundation for her team.
Harmanpreet Kaur was named ‘Player of the Match’ and Jemimah Rodrigues won the ‘Player of the Series’ award. However, nearly 14,000 crowds were present at the stadium to cheer them on. It can be said with the success of this tournament, BCCI can think about Women’s IPL now!