Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers have clinched their maiden title, preventing the Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas from three-peating. Mandhana set the tone with the bat, scoring a well-made 68 off 49. The spinners came to the party and helped Supernovas in defending 118 runs.
After being asked to bat first, the Trailblazers made a solid start but collapsed badly for 118 courtesy of Supernovas’ left-arm spinner Radha Yadav who took the first-ever fifer of the Women’s T20 Challenge.
However, on a track purely helping the spinners, Trailblazers’ Deepti Sharma picking up two wickets at the start of the second innings and Salma Khatun picking up three wickets in the penultimate helped the Trailblazers become first-time champions.
In the first innings, Deandra Dottin struggled to get going on a sluggish pitch in Sharjah. However, Mandhana got her act going with 14 runs over off Anuja Patil’s over. Then Radha Yadav walked in and claimed the first fifer of the tournament. When Mandhana was stumped, the Trailblazers were 101/2 at the end of 15 overs. However, some excellent bowling from Radha and Trailblazers lost seven wickets for 17 runs, which includes Mandhana’s as well. Radha finished with figures of 4-16-5.
Supernovas’ new opening pair of Jemimah Rodrigues and Chamari Athapaththu was tested by Jhulan Goswami early in the innings as they struggled to put the ball away. Sophie Ecclestone trapped Athapaththu in front thanks to a DRS review. The Supernovas managed only 26 runs for the loss of one wicket in the Powerplay. Spinners Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti Sharma kept the pressure on Supernovas with some tight bowling.
With Harmanpreet still in the middle, Supernovas could not breathe easy. However, with Harmanpreet limping after picking up an injury in Trailblazers’ innings, running ones and twos became difficult for her. Along Shashikala Siriwardene, the Supernovas skipper made a brief recovery but once that partnership was broken, Trailblazers were favourites to win.
In the penultimate over, Bangladesh’s Salma Khatun produced a three-wicket over to end the Supernovas chances of three-peating with the big wicket of Harmanpreet, sealing the Trailblazers win in the process.