Trailblazers 118 for 7 (Mandhana 68, Radha 5-16) beat Supernovas 102 for 7 (Kaur 30, Khatun 3-18) by 16 runs
The Supernovas led by Harmanpreet Kaur failed to defend their Women’s T20 Challenge title as they lost a low-scoring final of the 2020 edition to the Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers in Sharjah.
Chasing 119, the Supernovas struggled in their chase, losing early wickets to spin and failed to recover, eventually losing by 16 runs. Kaur’s 36-ball 30 had kept the Supernovas in with a chance, but her dismissal in the 19th over allowed the Trailblazers to breathe easy and eventually seal a comfortable win.
Earlier in the day, Radha Yadav’s five-wicket haul had restricted the Trailblazers to 118 for 7, a total that seemed below par at the halfway mark despite a fluent 68 from Mandhana. But as the wicket got difficult in the second innings, it was a total that in hindsight was more than competitive as the Trailblazers spinners applied the choke successfully.
Mandhana shows her class
The Trailblazers captain was due a big score after making just 39 runs in the two league-stage games, but come the final, she struck the game’s only half-century, and that too at a strike-rate of 138.77. Her 49-ball 68 included five fours and three sixes.
Her innings was all the more important because nobody in her team had a strike-rate of 90, and the other batters contributed just 45 runs in 72 balls. She dominated the powerplay while her opening partner Deandra Dottin (32-ball 20) struggled on the sluggish surface, and together they made 45 in six overs for the loss of no wickets.
Dottin was the first Trailblazers wicket to fall in the 12th over, and once that happened, Mandhana began to take more chances. She reached her fifty three balls after Dottin’s dismissal, but was out in the 15th over, stumped off Shashikala Siriwardene trying to attempt yet another big shot. By then, though, the Trailblazers had already breached 100.
Radha’s five-star show
The Trailblazers had eight wickets in hand till the end of the 17th over but went on to lose six wickets over the next 18 deliveries. That was thanks to Radha’s left-arm spin, who took two wickets in the 18th and three in the 20th to ensure the Supernovas did not have to chase a total in excess of 120.
Her 5 for 16 was the best figures in the history of the competition and she earned her wickets by slowing her pace, forcing batters to try and manufacture the power, which they mostly failed, holing out to cover or in the long-on region. When she finished her spell at the culmination of the first innings, it seemed the momentum was with the Supernovas as they needed 119 to defend their Women’s T20 Challenge title.
Khatun, Deepti seal the win
Chamari Athapaththu and Jemimah Rodrigues opened the batting for the Supernovas, and Jhulan Goswami welcomed them with some deliveries that were swinging away from the left-hand batter and into the right-hand batter. Athapaththu failed to connect with her drives with Rodrigues was finding it hard to pierce the gaps, and the partnership was broken in the second over when Sophie Ecclestone trapped the Sri Lankan lbw after a successful review.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti Sharma then applied the choke with some stump-to-stump bowling, with the latter taking the wickets of Rodrigues and Taniya Bhatia, but while Kaur was in the middle, the chase was always on despite the rising asking rate.
Kaur looked to slog leg-side but a hamstring injury she suffered in the first innings was hindering his movement. That meant she struggled with the doubles.
Salma Khatun, the Bangladesh international, then dismissed Siriwardene in the 15th over, and in her final over – the game’s 19th – dismissed Kaur and Pooja Vastrakar in the same over to all but end Supernovas’ hope of a win. Needing 24 off the final over, the Supernovas could make only seven as the Trailblazers sealed their win.
While Mandhana was the Player of the Match, Radha was the Player of the Tournament for her eight wickets in three matches.
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