Pooja Vastrakar took four wickets for just 12 runs in a brilliant pace bowling display as Supernovas took an easy 49 run victory over Trailblazers in a record-breaking opening match of the Women’s T20 Challenge in Pune on Monday. Vastrakar, 22, claimed the wickets from Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana (34), her opening partner Hayley Matthews (18), No. 4 Sophia Dunkley (1) and Salma Khatun (0) in two separate spells to tear apart the defending champions’ battle formation. England’s left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and Australia all-rounder Alana King came in with two wickets apiece as Trailblazers could only score 114 for 9 in 20 overs while chasing 164.
The Supernovas had previously scored the tournament’s all-time high of 163 all-out after opting to bat.
Trailblazers got off to a strong start to their chase with Mandhana and Matthews taking 39 runs for the opening wicket in five overs.
But Vastrakar triple-hit Trailblazers to leave the defending champion in big trouble.
She first had Matthews’ wicket over from the last ball of the fifth, then sent skipper Mandhana and Dunkley over in the space of four balls in the eighth.
Wickets continued to tumble in quick succession while Sharmin Akhter (0) was the next one left for a duck out to be King’s first victim of the day.
It was difficult to get runs for the Trailblazers as they reached 71 for 4 in the middle. But two quick wickets bowled over by Ecclestone in the 11th pretty much ended the match. Ecclestone had Richa Gosh (2) off the second ball from the over and Arundhati Reddy (0) was eliminated in the next pitch when the Trailblazers batters hurried to return to the hut.
Harmanpreet Kaur brought Vastrakar for her second spell and the pacemaker got immediate success by having Khatun reduce the Trailblazers to 73 for 7 at the end of 12 overs.
Demand rate had increased by over 11 runs per over by then and Jemimah Rodrigues (24) tried to make it a match but she also fell over to Meghna Singh in the 14th to wipe out any hopes of Trailblazers fighting back.
Previously, Supernovas captain Kaur scored the highest score with 37 from 29 balls, while Harleen Deol and Deandra Dottin came in with 35 and 32 respectively.
However, they lost five wickets in the last two overs for just eight runs, including Kaur’s, in a dramatic collapse.
Matthews was the choice of the Trailblazers bowlers with numbers of 3 for 29, while Salma Khatun took two for 30 runs. The Supernovas got off to a heady start, hitting the tournament’s best-ever power play score of 58 for one with opener Dottin (32 from just 17 balls) in ominous form.
Dottin hit Renuka Singh for three fours in the third left, with the Supernovas taking 14 runs. However, she was run out in the fifth over as she backed too far from her crease. She hit a total of five fours and one six.
The other opener Priya Punia (22) went on a little longer before being out in the eighth over. Young Deol showed great form, sharing 37 runs for the third wicket with Captain Kaur.
She hit Matthews for consecutive fours in the eighth over, but couldn’t turn her start into a big score and got out in the 12th over.
Kaur, who came out on the fall of Punia in the eighth over, took responsibility for keeping the ship to herself, although her side lost wickets in clusters.
Sune Luus (10) fell in the 15th of Rajeshwari Gayakwad (1/34) before King (5) became Khatun’s second wicket of the day.
Vastrakar and Kaur were knocked out in the space of three balls in the 19th over before Supernovas lost three more wickets in the dramatic final over.
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