Women's T20 Challenge: Velocity survive panic to earn win over Trailblazers

Mithali Raji’s Velocity beat Trailblazers by three wickets with two overs to spare when it appeared her side would self destruct in easy chase of 113.

Sushree Pradhan celebrates after scoring the winning runs.   -  IPL/SPORTZPICS

There was a lot of madness in the end, but even that did not prevent Velocity from opening its campaign in the Women’s T20 Challenge on the right note.

Mithali Raji’s girls beat Trailblazers by three wickets with two overs to spare. The margin should have been much bigger than that, but they somehow managed to lose five wickets off seven balls, without adding a run. And all this happened when they needed just two, chasing a mere 113.

READ | Velocity escapes to victory after losing 5 wickets in 7 balls

It was left to Sushree Pradhan, the uncapped 21-year-old from Odisha, to restore normalcy. She steered off-spinner Deepti Sharma through the third man for a couple, much to the relief of the Velocity dugout.

The drama began to unfold with the fifth ball of the 17th over, when Danielle Wyatt, the hard-hitting Englishwoman, was caught at mid-off by Deepti off left-am spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, for a well-struck 46 (35b, 5x4, 2x6). Little she may have imagined, as she walked back to the dressing room, that she would have to go through some tense moments before her team finally won.

After her dismissal, Veda Krishnamoorthy was run out, and Deepti cleaned up Mithali, Shikha Pandey and Amelia Kerr within a space of five balls. Sushree, however, was in no mood to contribute to the comedy of errors, especially on a day on which she had done well with her off-spin.

Another uncapped player and her teammate, Shafali Verma, did even better. Opening the innings, she displayed excellent stroke-making skills and maturity to score 34 (31b, 5x4, 1x6). She looked particularly good for a 15-year-old.

Velocity skipper Mithali was part of the mini collapse towards the end of the chase. PHOTO: IPL/SPORTZPICS

 

Earlier, Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana had given the feeling that she was continuing from where she had left off from her last innings, lofting seamer Shikha for a four over mid-off and then driving the next ball gorgeously through the same area.

In her second over, Shikha had her revenge, though. She took arguably the most prized wicket in women’s cricket at the moment, with a ball that moved away. Smriti tried to play it through the third-man area but ended up giving a catch behind the stumps to Sushma, who dived smartly to her left to take it.

READ | 15-year-old Shafali Verma, a Tendulkar fan, makes a mark

Harleen Deol, now joined Suzie Bates, and the youngster, who has involved in a century partnership with Smriti in the last game, showed her talent yet again. She played the anchor well yet again, making 43 (40b), but none of the other batters got going.

Bates, who made 26, was looking good when she stepped out and unconvincingly hit left-arm spinner Ekta Bishta straight to Veda at long-on. Trailblazers, which was put in, was 50 for two at that stage, in 8.1 overs.

It should have been able to post a bigger total than 112 from then on. Credit, though, has to be given to some tight bowling by Velocity.