Velocity (Luus 37* Verma 34, Khaka 2-27) beat Supernovas 126 for 8 (Atapattu 44, Kaur 31, Bisht 3-22) by five wickets
All it took was the confidence to go through with the big shot. For the entire evening, the Supernovas bowlers had been teasing the opposition with taunting, loopy spin. On a slow pitch, it was an excellent tactic. But Sushma Verma had both the bravery to step out of her crease and the skill to hit sixes when all the pressure was on her team. Her partnership of 51 off 35 balls for the fifth wicket with Sune Luus was pivotal to Velocity coming from behind and taking down the defending champions.
All of this drama, when the target was only 127.
Slow pitch blues
A late-season Sharjah pitch demanded a lot from every batter that went out there. The fast bowlers just had to maintain a good length and attack the stumps. The spinners had to avoid dropping it short. Even a hitter of the calibre of Chamari Atapattu was pottering around at 20 off 23 balls in the eighth over. The Supernovas were 43 for 2 at the time and the arrival of their captain appeared to have woken them up.
It was desperately hard work working the ball around into gaps because of the slowness of the surface, but Harmanpreet Kaur was able to do it beautifully and then began opening up. A six over deep midwicket off Luus in the 14th over signalled that she was ready to go. Atapattu at the other end had already kicked into gear at and 42 off 36 balls with two fours and two sixes.
Alam’s day out
At 13 overs, Supernovas were 89 for 2 and looking to launch. At 13.1, the game changed.
Jahanara Alam suckered Atapattu to long-on with a wide ball well outside of her reach. She then had Kaur caught at fine leg in the 17th over and finished with figures of 2 for 27.
Those two wickets were incredibly vital. The Supernovas lost their two biggest hitters with more than three overs of their innings still left to play. As a result, they could make only 10 runs off the last 18 balls. And lost four wickets doing so.
An awkward chase
Dani Wyatt fell in the first over.
Shafali Verma batted like a dream. She hit Ayabonga Khaka for a hat-trick of boundaries that made the pitch seem like a batting paradise, but in trying to go for a fourth big hit, she hit a full toss straight to deep midwicket.
Mithali Raj couldn’t hit the ball off the square. She fell for 7 off 19 balls.
Veda Krishnamurthy did her best to keep the required rate manageable while her captain struggled but when she fell in the 13th over for 29 off 28, it seemed like Velocity were done. They needed 62 off 42 balls and they only had the wicketkeeper, a bowling allrounder and the tail left. Fortunately for them, that proved to be enough.
Verma and Luus to the rescue
The required rate had soared to 10 an over by the 15th. And Sushma Verma responded to that by dancing down the track and launching Poonam Yadav for a six over her head.
Luus followed suit, her preference, sweeping the legspinner over deep square leg. That over cost Supernovas 14 runs and it ended with one of the best spinners in the world giving up on her single greatest strength – flighting the ball.
The equation was 36 off 24 now. And it kept coming down with every straight hit by Verma and every sublime sweep from Luus. Two players with a clear gameplan and a willingness to attack the bowling. That’s all this game needed and that’s what won it in the end for Velocity.
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