By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
SHARJAH: The Women’s T20 Challenge found a new champion this season when Trailblazers shocked two-time champions Supernovas by 16 runs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday. Skipper Smriti Mandhana led from the front with a match-winning 68 to guide Trailblazers to their maiden title.
Supernovas captain Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and opted to field. Trailblazers put up a fighting score of 118 for 8 thanks mainly to a dominating innings of 68 off 49 balls by Smriti. The talented opener smashed five fours and three sixes. She got support from fellow opener Deandra Dottin, who contributed 20. The pair added 71 runs for the first wicket in 11 overs.
Smriti, who was later named player-of-the-match, also involved in one more fruitful partnership with Richa Ghosh (10) as they added 30 runs for the second wicket. Radha Yadav’s efforts went in vain, as she became the first bowler to grab a five-wicket haul in the Women’s T20 Challenge. Shashikala Siriwardene and Poonam Yadav chipped in with a wicket each.
In reply, the Supernovas never looked like going for the target and were restricted to 102 for 7. Trailblazers’ Salma Khatun returned with the figures of 3 for 18 while Deepti Sharma grabbed a couple of wickets. Salma picked up the big wicket of Harmanpreet for 30 to end their last hope. Deepti Sharma removed Jemimah Rodrigues for 14.
The momentum was with defending champions Supernovas as they eyed a third straight title but determined Trailblazers foiled their bid of a hat-trick of triumphs. Just a couple of days ago, holders had edged past Trailblazers by 2 runs in the last-over thriller.
Brief scores: Trailblazers 118 for 8 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 68, Deandra Dottin 20, Richa Ghosh 10, Deepti Sharma 9; Radha Yadav 5-16, Shashikala Siriwardene 1-22, Poonam Yadav 1-23) beat Supernovas 102 for 7 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 30, Shashikala Siriwardene 19, Taniya Bhatia 14, Jemimah Rodgrigues 13; Salma Khatun 3-18, Deepti Sharma 2-9, Sophie Ecclestone 1-26) by 16 runs. Player-of-the-match: Smriti Mandhana (Trailblazers).