Cricket

Women’s T20 Challenge: Trailblazers Win But Velocity In Final

| Updated : May 26, 2022, 11:42 pm
Updated : May 26, 2022, 11:42 pm

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Kiran Navgire slammed the fastest 50 of the tournament

PUNE: On Thursday, Velocity lost to Trailblazers by 16 runs in match 3 of the Women’s T20 Challenge tournament but still qualified for the final. The final will be played between Velocity and Supernovas on May 28.

Here are the highlights from the match:

Meghana’s mayhem, Rodrigues’ razzmatazz: Emerging out of the shadows of her opening partner Smriti Mandhana, Trailblazers’ Sabbhineni Meghana unleashed a hurricane-like innings as her team needed to win by a big margin to qualify for the final. She looked prodigiously confident from the word go and smacked a couple of brilliant straight drives in the first over of the innings against Kate Cross. Though Mandhana perished in the third over, Meghana continued to attack the bowlers.

Instead of being eclipsed by Meghana, Jemimah Rodrigues also oozed exuberance and made a statement by walloping Velocity captain Deepti Sharma for two fours as Trailblazers raced to 47-1 in 6 overs.


The end of Powerplay only accelerated the tempo as Rodrigues waltzed down the track and whacked the left-arm spinner Radha Yadav for a splendid six over covers in the next over. Meghana unfurled a nifty late-cut to garner another boundary and then thwacked Radha over long-on for a monumental six in the 9th over.

Both Meghana and Rodrigues exhibited decisive footwork as they waltzed down the track to spinners effortlessly and also rocked back when required to execute deft slices and cuts. Meghana reached her fifty off 32 balls in the 10th over.

Rodrigues bashed out a marvellous slice against medium-pacer Ayabonga Khaka before Meghana launched Shafali Verma into the stands in the 13th over as Trailblazers crossed 100.

In the 15th over, Meghana skipped down the track and smote off-spinner Sneh Rana for a six and followed it up with another boundary. However, in a bid to pump up run-rate, she was caught at mid-off for 73.

Rodrigues however continued to cruise unrelentingly as she swept medium-pacer for a smashing six over backward square leg in the 17th over and followed it up with a four. She was ultimately caught at short fine-leg in the same over for 44-ball 66.

Hayley Matthews and Sophia Dunkley made some brisk runs in the last two overs as Trailblazers reached 190-5 in 20 overs which is the highest total in the history of this tournament.

Feckless fielding by Velocity: The appalling fielding by Velocity fielders compounded their woes manifold. They grassed four catches, two by Rana, and there were a string of misfields. Meghana was dropped at the backward point when she was 62 and Rodrigues got two reprieves in the 16th over. First, she was dropped at extra cover and then on the next ball, the catch was again grassed at the long-on which also resulted in a boundary.

Simran Bahadur was the unfortunate bowler as three out of four dropped catches came on her bowling.

Thunderous opening stand: Velocity needed 191 to win the match but only 159 to qualify for the final. But the manner in which their openers – Shafali Verma and Yastika Bhatia – started, it was evident they wanted to win the match, not just qualify for the final.

The openers batted with abandon and added 36 runs in 4 overs before Bhatia was cleaned up by the off-spinner Salman Khatun. Shafali also perished after making breezy 29 off 15 balls.

The sensation called Navgire: It needed an outrageous effort by someone to overshadow the brilliance of Meghana and Rodrigues, and Navgire pulled the rabbit out of the hat before falling just short.

Facing her first ball of the tournament, she reeled off a stunning slog-sweep to send the ball sailing into the stands over deep mid-wicket. This was just the genesis of the carnage that she was to unleash. An unabashed Dhoni fan, Navgire exuded an air of authority and smashed Trailblazers bowlers with astounding nonchalance.

She wasn’t afraid to dance down the track against spinners and kept clouting them to all the corners of the park with ease. In the 14th over, she once again skipped down the track and crunched Rajeshwari Gayakwad over long-on to bring up her fifty in just 25 balls. This is the fastest fifty ever in the Women’s T20 Challenge tournament.
While Navgire was biffing bowlers with bodacious brutality, wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Finally, Navgire was dismissed in the 17th over as she stepped out to slap another six but was stumped off leg-spinner Sophia Dunkley.

After her dismissal, Velocity gave up on the chase but neatly went past 159 which they required to qualify for the final.


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