Women’s T20 challenge: ‘Invincible’ Supernovas eye third straight title

The Supernovas, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, have been invincible so far winning all the previous two editions. It will take on Mithali Raj’s Velocity on Wednesday.

Jemimah Rodrigues was the top run-getter (123 runs at an average of 61.50) and was adjudged the ‘Player of the Series’ last season.   -  V.V. KRISHNAN

It has been a trying eight months for India's women cricketers. They haven't had a game all this while following the coronavirus outbreak.

As expected, they all would be raring to go as the Women's T20 Challenge begins at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. In the opening match, Harmanpreet Kaur's Supernovas takes on Mithali Raj's Velocity.

Both the sides competed in last year's final at Jaipur in front of a crowd of 15,000. It had an exciting finish, with Supernovas winning by five wickets, off the last ball.

 

It was the captain who led her from the front with a fine half-century. On the eve of the third edition of the tournament, she said the players were excited.

Mithali Raj.   -  V.V. Subramanyam

 

“I am very excited we are all getting some cricket,” Harmanpreet said. “We are thankful to the BCCI and all the people involved for organising the tournament.”

Her team must be hoping that she would be finding form early on. Jemimah Rodrigues and Sri Lankan Chamari Athapaththu are the other main batters for Supernovas.

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In Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav and Anuja Patil, the team has a fine trio of spinners. And it would be interesting to see how seamers Ayabonga Khaka of South Africa and Pooja Vastrakar fare at Sharjah.

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Velocity also has a balanced attack in the form of pacers Jahanara Alam from Bangladesh, Shakera Selman of the West Indies and Shikha Pandey and spinners Leigh Kasperk from New Zealand and Ekta Bisht.

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For runs, Velocity will look to skipper Mithali, the hard-hitting teenager Shafali Varma, England's Danielle Wyatt and South African Sune Luus.

Mithali said the wicket might have slowed down in Sharjah. “There is also the dew factor, which could make it difficult for the bowlers,” she said.

All matches will be held in Sharjah at 7.30pm (IST).

The squads:

Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Jemimah Rodrigues, Chamari Athapaththu (SL), Priya Punia, Anuja Patil, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shashikala Siriwardene (SL), Poonam Yadav, Shakera Selman (WI), Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Ayushi Soni, Ayabonga Khaka (SA) and Muskan Malik.

Velocity: Mithali Raj (capt), Veda Krishnamurthy, Shafali Verma, Sushma Verma (wk), Ekta Bisht, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey, Devika Vaidya, Sushree Dibyadarshini, Manali Dakshini, Leigh Kasperek (NZ), Danielle Wyatt (Eng), Sune Luus (SA), Jahanara Alam (Ban) and M. Anagha.

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