JAIPUR: A fine blend of aggression and deftness, Chamari Atapattu (67 off 48 balls) single-handedly took on the responsibility to challenge the bowlers, putting Supernovas in the driver’s seat to down Trailblazers by two runs in a must-win Women’s T20 Challenge match in Sharjah on Saturday.
With all the three teams winning one game apiece, the title clash will see Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers take on Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas who pipped Mithali Raj’s Velocity on the basis of a superior net run rate.
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Chasing 147, when Trailblazers were reeling at 91/4 in 15 overs, Deepti Sharma (43* off 40 balls) and Harleen Deol (27 off 15 balls) put up a brave effort and took the team close to the target, but fell agonizingly short.
Trailblazers got off to a solid start. But twin blows by fast bowler Shakera Selman in the seventh over that saw opener Deandra Dottin (27 off 15) and Richa Ghosh (4 off 2 balls) walking back to the pavilion, pegged the pink outfit back. Mandhana (33 off 40 balls) could not capitalise on the couple of reprieves she got after being dropped in the fourth and the ninth over. The captain was caught and bowled by off-spinner Anuja Patil in the 13th over.
Earlier, left-hand batswoman Atapattu teamed up with her opening partner Priya Punia to stitch an 89-run partnership that helped Supernovas post 146/5. Atapattu’s knock that was notched up at a strike rate of 139.58 was studded with four sixes. Having decided to bat first, the veteran batter got into her attacking avtar from the second over, bowled by off-spinner Deepti Sharma that went for 10 runs. The Lankan accelerated further going big against the spinner in the fourth over that also included the first six of the match. A hoist over the mid-off was followed by a maximum over the deep mid-wicket in the next over, and Atapattu had just started.
The intimidating Trailblazers’ bowling attack that had earned them a thumping win against Velocity, was made to look ordinary by the 30-year-old opener. Though Punia struggled to rotate the strike and find the gaps, she picked up some pace en route her knock of 30 off 37 balls, before being dismissed by Salma Khatun after Deepti Sharma pulled off an excellent diving catch at the mid-wicket.
It was the leg-spin of Harleen Deol that ended the innings of high-flying Atapattu. But in the last overs, captain Harmanpreet Kaur (31 off 29) ensured there were enough runs on the board.
Brief Scores: Supernovas 146/6 (C Atapattu 67, H Kaur 31; J Goswami 1-17) defeated Trailblazers 144/5 (D Sharma 43 not out, S Mandhana 33; R Yadav 2/30) by 2 runs.