Women's T20 Challenge: Trailblazers holds off Supernovas's challenge in last-ball thriller

With 19 runs needed off the final over, bowled by Jhulan Goswami, Supernovas captain Harmanpreet Kaur hit four fours but couldn't get the job done with three needed off the final ball.

Trailblazers, led by Smriti Mandhana with the bat and Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Sophie Ecclestone with the ball, beat Supernovas in a last-ball thriller at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.   -  PTI

It may have been a day off for the IPL, but not for the thrills of Twenty20 cricket.

The women are carrying on from where the men paused to take a breather, as the Women’s T20 Challenge got off to an exciting start at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday. Even the prospect of a Super Over was possible when Jhulan Goswami ran in to bowl the last ball.

With three runs required off the final ball for Supernovas, Goswami held her nerve and denied Harmanpreet Kaur, one of the most feared batters in the women’s cricket.

Harmanpreet, who failed to connect that ball, wide of the off-stump, was gutted. But, it was the four fours she scored in that last over off the vastly experienced Jhulan that brought her side close to the win.

Supernovas vs Trailblazers match highlights

Nineteen was needed from that final over, because England left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone had given only two in the 19th, in which she also trapped Sophie Devine lbw for 32. The New Zealander had added 48 for the fifth wicket with Harmanpreet (46 not out).

But, this night belonged to the other captain. Smriti Mandhana’s 90 (67b) was largely responsible for the competitive total by Trailblazers, after being put in.

She took her time to settle in, but once she did, the Supernova bowlers had little clue how to contain her, let alone get rid of her.

In the second cover she saw her opening partner Suzie Bates depart. The World No. 1 batter in the women’s T20 was caught, inside the circle on the off side by Jemimah Rodrigues, after bit of a fumble, off off-spinner Anuja Patil.

The Supernovas, however, had to wait for another 17 overs before they could get another wicket. The young Harleen Deol, who made her international debut less than three months ago, gave her captain excellent support as the duo added 119 for the second wicket.

They had begun sedately though, as the Powerplay produced just 25 runs. And the score was 52 for one at the halfway mark.

But, before long, Smriti changed gears, in the charming fashion of hers. She timed the ball sweetly and hit it strong enough to clear the boundary, as she did against leg-spinner Poonam Yadav -- dancing down the wicket and lofted her over extra cover.

After losing Harleen in the 19th over – caught comfortably at long-off by Radha off pacer Devine -- she had a chance to go for a hundred in the final over. But she fell 10 short, as she failed to clear Radha over the long-on boundary and was caught by Chamari Athapaththu.

As it would turn out, she had done just about enough for her side.

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