Women’s T20 Challenge: Velocity nick a thriller over Supernovas

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on November 4, 2020
Velocity's Sune Luus (left) celebrates after scoring the winning runs against the Supernovas in Sharjah on Wednesday night. — BCCI/IPL

Luus shepherds Mithali Raj's side home by five wickets with a ball to spare

If the boys can play, the girls can too. As this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) reaches its climax, women cricketers from around the world too have a share of the spotlight.

A women’s IPL is still taking its baby steps but the Women’s T20 Challenge, as it is called at the moment, rolled out its third season at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The Women’s T20 Challenge consists of three teams — defending champions Supernovas, Velocity and Trailblazers. The Supernovas are captained by Harmanpreet Kaur, India’s T20 skipper, while Mithali Raj is the skipper of Velocity. Smriti Mandhana is captaining the Trailblazers.

The three teams play each other with the final scheduled to be held on November 9.

Coming as it does against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic which still continues to rage across the world, it is admirable that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to stage the Women’s T20 Challenge along with the IPL.

Although shorn of some of the international stars as it clashes with the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, the competition has still managed to attract a number of stars.

This is the first bit of action for these players since the T20 World Cup in March, where India finished runners-up to Australia.

And on Wednesday night, the first match produced a thriller with Velocity nicking a five-wicket win over two-time champions Supernovas, with a ball to spare.

With nine runs needed from the last over, South African all-rounder Sune Luus swept off-spinner Shashikala Siriwardene for a boundary and then wrapped it up with an edged four.

Luus, who remained not out on 37 from 21 balls with four boundaries and a six, was earlier involved in a crucial stand of 51 with Sushma Verma for the fifth wicket after they had required 62 in seven overs.

“It was quite difficult that we needed 62 in 42 when I walked in. They were bowling well. Sushma rotated the strike well with me,” Luus, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, said at the post-match presentation.

“This is such a great opportunity to be here, in these crazy times. It's extremely great to be playing again and I'm really enjoying it,” she added.

Earlier, Sri Lankan all-rounder Chamari Atapattu top scored for the Supernovas to help them post a par score.

The left-handed Atapattu, who opened the batting, stroked 44 from 39 deliveries that contained two boundaries and an equal number of sixes as the Supernovas posted 126 for 8, after being put into bat.

She also put on a 47-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who made a 27-ball 31 that had two sixes and a boundary.

Indian left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht snapped up three wickets, while New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek and Bangladesh pacer Jahanara Alam picked two wickets each.

Brief scores:

Supernovas: 126-8 in 20 overs (Chamari Atapattu 44, Harmanpreet Kaur 31, Ekta Bisht 3-22, Leigh Kasperek 2-23, Jahanara Alam 2-27) lost to Velocity: 129-5 in 19.5 overs (Sune Luus 37 not out, Sushma Verma 34, Veda Krishnamurthy 29, Ayabonga Khaka 2-27) by 5 wickets.


Supernovas: Priya Punia, Chamari Atapattu, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Shashikala Siriwardene, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Shakera Selman, Ayabonga Khaka.

Velocity: Shafali Verma, Danielle Wyatt, Mithali Raj (C), Veda Krishnamurthy, Sushma Verma (wk), Sune Luus, Manali Dakshini, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht, Leigh Kasperek, Jahanara Alam.

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