Women’s T20 Challenge 2022, Trailblazers vs Velocity: Sabbhineni Meghana, Jemimah Rodrigues' 113-run stand, Kiran Navgire's 69 and Hayley Matthews' 27 & 1-20 are top three performances.
Brief Scores: Trailblazers 190/5 (Meghana 73, Rodrigues 66, Simran 2-31) beat Velocity 174/9 (Navgire 69, Poonam 2-33) by 16 runs
Player of the Match: Jemimah Rodrigues (66 runs in 44 balls)
Deepti Sharma-led Velocity, who went in to Thursday’s game with a victory of seven wickets over Supernovas, locked horns with defending champions, Trailblazers, who had lost their opening game by 49 runs to the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune.
Both sides have a 1-1 head-to-head record in the tournament, having faced each other twice in the competition.
Velocity captain Deepti Sharma won the toss and opted to bowl first on a pitch that was expected to offer a bit of bounce and assistance for the bowlers. While they replaced Maya Sonawane with Simran Bahadur, Trailblazers left out Sharmin Akhter for Sabbhineni Meghana.
Velocity to meet Supernovas in the finals
Put into bat first, Trailblazers lost their captain Smriti Mandhana for just 1 early in the innings. Sabbhineni Meghana and Jemimah Rodrigues treated the blow with a 113-run partnership in just 72 balls to put their side in a strong position. Later, Sophia Dunkley and Hayley Matthews, with their wild batting that collected 62 runs in the end overs, propelled them to 190/5 in the allotted 20 overs.
Velocity got off to a great start thanks with 36/1 in four overs, before losing Shafali Verma. Then, there was a wind of Kiran Navgire from Nagaland who won the stage with her blistering knock of 69 in just 34 balls. However, in between all of these, they lost a few wickets but with a boundary when they went past the magical number 158, Velocity knocked out the defending champions out of the tournament.
However, they went on to lose the game by 16 runs as Trailblazers restricted Velocity to 174/9.
Let’s take a look at the top performances from the game between Velocity and Trailblazers.
Meghana-Rodrigues century partnership steadied Trailblazers
In a do-or-die encounter, defending champions, Trailblazers lost their captain, Smriti Mandhana early in the innings for just 1 when Jemimah Rodrigues joined debutant Sabbhineni Meghana at the crease. Both had a point to prove; while the former was left out of their World Cup squad earlier in this year, the later was warming the reserve benches.
Meghana, after spending a few overs in the middle, went wild with Rodrigues as both started to hit boundaries at ease to take Trailblazers to 47/1 after the powerplay. Meghana, the 25-year-old from Andhra Pradesh who has 91 WT20I runs in seven innings, started to time the ball beautifully to register her fifty in just 32 balls. She kept the onslaught going with more boundaries and couple of sixes before being dismissed on an individual score of 73 off 47 balls that was arranged with seven boundaries and four sixes.
Meghana was well-supported by Jemimah Rodrigues from the other end. The Mumbai batter, who has 1,055 WT20I runs in 43 innings at a strike rate of 110.70, smashed the ball all around the park to celebrate her 36-ball half-century. She finished on 66 off 44 balls thanks to seven boundaries and a solitary six.
The 113-run partnership in 72 balls between them, which is just the second century stand in the competition, helped Trailblazers put a strong base for late striking as they finished with 190/5 on the board.
Kiran Navgire fired up with maiden fifty
Velocity and the story of uncapped and unheralded players in Women’s T20 challenge is nothing short of a fairy tale and after a 15-year-old Shafali Verma in 2018, they have added a new name on the list which is of Kiran Prabhu Navgire from Nagaland.
Coming early in the innings at the fall of the first wicket, Navgire opened her account with an incredible shot that flew over the deep mid-wicket region for a six; she ended the over with another six over wide long-on. Navgire, who hit 35 sixes in Senior Women’s League a month back, kept her onslaught going to register her maiden half-century with another six over the long-on fence in just 25 balls before cracking the same shot on the very next ball.
This is now the fastest half-century in the history of the tournament. The terrific knock of 69 in just 34 balls, that was arranged with five boundaries and as many sixes, came to an end when she stepped down the ground only to be stumped. Navgire, whose idol is the India great MS Dhoni, became the first uncapped player to score a fifty in Women’s T20 Challenge.
Hayley Matthews contributed with all-round performance
Even after a century stand, Trailblazers needed one of their players to score rapidly in the later part of the innings for a powerful finish and West Indies player Hayley Matthews did the job in the best possible way.
She began her innings with back-to-back boundaries before more boundaries of Sneh Rana to end the 19th over. In between all of those shots, she kept on rotating the strikes with singles and doubles to end with an individual knock of 27 in 16 balls at a strike rate of 168.75.
Coming with the ball in hand, Matthews picked up the wicket of Simran Bahadur on 10 by disturbing her stumps. Trailblazers went on to win the game by 16 runs.
What’s to Come
The Supernovas will meet Velocity in the finals at the MCA Stadium in Pune on May 28.