Trailblazers dethrone Supernovas to win Women’s T20 Challenge title
Supernovas made heavy weather of the low total
Trailblazers thumped defending champions Supernovas to clinch the Women's T20 Challenge crown at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Skipper Smriti Mandhana scored a brilliant half-century (49-ball 68) to steer Trailblazers to 118/8 and then the bowling unit led by an effective Salma Khatun (3/18) and an economical Deepti Sharma (2/9) restricted Supernovas to 102/7 for a 16-run win in the final.
Supernovas made heavy weather of the low total. For a team having set 146 and 126 in the previous matches, the evening chase on Sharjah pitch turned out to be a challenging affair especially in the face of a relentless attack from Trailblazers.
English spinner Sophie Ecclestone trapped an in-form Sri Lankan southpaw Chamari Athapaththu (6) to get the ball rolling. An experienced Jhulan Goswami bowled an exceptional spell giving just 11 from her three overs.
New batswoman Taniya Bhatia joined Jemimah Rodrigues and found an odd boundary to take Supernovas, at a pedestrian pace, to 28 from the power play overs.
Just as the pair began to look good in the middle, all-rounder Sharma floored Bhatia (20-ball 14) with a beautiful delivery. She picked her second of the day as Rodrigues (16-ball 13), after a good start, was undone by a top-rated catch from Thai sensation Natakkan Chantam. Sharma had given away just five runs in her two overs.
At 48/3 at the half-way stage, Trailblazers were all over Supernovas with 71 more needed from 60 balls.
But Supernovas skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Shashikala Siriwardene knocked boundaries and rotated strikes to close the deficit.
However, Bangladeshi spinner Khatun got a top edge caught by Goswami to remove Siriwardene (18-ball 19) and end a 37-run fourth-wicket stand.
After 15 overs, Supernovas needed 44 from five overs. Kaur held the key but the likes of Goswami and Khatun maintained their stranglehold. In the penultimate over, Khatun bowled Kaur (36-ball 30) and got Pooja Vastrakar (0), and Anuja Patil (8) was runout as Supernovas plunged to 94/7. The title holders could muster just 102/7.
The batters undid the heroics of Radha Yadav, who with a five-for had restricted Trailblazers to 118.
Asked to bat, Trailblazers' openers started strongly by smashing 45 runs in the power play overs. Even as Deandra Dottin struggled, skipper Mandhana knocked timely boundaries and rotated strikes. But
Supernovas pulled things back through Patil, Poonam Yadav and Siriwardene. The relentless pressure from spinners resulted in the wicket of Dottin off Poonam.
Dottin made just 20 from 32 balls but shared a solid 71-run opening stand. Mandhana carried on and smoked Poonam for a four and a six to reach her 50 from 40 balls.
In a see-saw match, Patil and Siriwardene, with tight overs, wrested the momentum. Again, a wicket came. Mandhana was stumped after missing a turning delivery from Siriwardene.
New pair of Sharma and Richa Ghosh got together with Trailblazers at 101/2 after 15 overs. Radha, returning for her second spell, removed Sharma (19) and Richa Ghosh (10) in the space of three balls. Radha, in the final over, nailed Ecclestone (1), Harleen Deol (4) and Goswami, and there was a runout of Chantam (0) off the last ball. Trailblazers managed just 17 runs in the final five overs at the cost of six batswomen but gathered enough to defend and nail the encounter.