Jemimah Rodrigues confident that Supernovas can achieve the three-peat

Supernovas celebrate a wicket. © BCCI/ IPL

Game three of the Women’s T20 Challenge between Supernovas and Trailblazers at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday (November 7), was a thrilling contest that saw Radha Yadav emerge as a hero yet again. With 10 to defend in the final over, the left-arm spinner held her nerve, conceding only seven runs and also dismissing the dangerous-looking Harleen Deol to help Supernovas clinch a two-run win.

Following that humdinger of a game, on Sunday (November 8), the finalists went to the ICC Academy in Dubai to fine-tune their skills. Among those absent within the Supernovas camp was skipper Harmanpreet Kaur who was often seen patrolling the boundaries towards the end of Trailblazers’ innings.

“Yesterday we had a high intensity game, so she (Harman) just felt like resting,” Supernovas vice-captain Jemimah Rodrigues told reporters on Sunday. “It’s good for us – we want our players to be fresh there, so she just took a break today.”

In danger of being knocked out of the tournament early after their loss to Velocity in the opening game of the tournament, the defending champions were pushed to the wire in their final league encounter. Rodrigues said that the confidence gained from having successfully handled that pressure will hold the players in good stead going in to the title clash on Monday (November 9).

“Yesterday’s game was very important for us to win. We knew that if we had to make it to the finals, we have to win. The talk in the dressing room was just to go out and give it your all. I could see that intensity in the girls. Each one of us, you know, we didn’t give up till the last ball,” she said.

The 20-year-old was all praise for compatriot Yadav, whose final over helped the side sneak into the final. She also lauded the contributions of the top-order batters early in the game.

“Not just Radha – she bowled that over superbly for us under pressure – [but] each one of them, everyone contributed. In batting there was (Chamari) Atapattu, and Harry di, Priya Punia, everyone chipped in at the right time and took responsibility.”

“Also, for the bowlers it was Shakera (Selman) getting us those two wickets in that one over. That was the turning point over there. Everyone chipped in and bowled well. Our team’s looking good. We just want to focus on the positives and do well even in the [next] game.”

Rodrigues said the environment within the team is very relaxed, with players being encouraged to enjoy the experiences. She added that she believes that positivity off the field is what is being carried on to the field as well.

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Having only managed eight runs in two innings, Rodrigues, who was crowned player of the tournament in the previous edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge, will be itching to have an impact in the final.

“I think yesterday’s game we did really well, but some batters, like me, we didn’t get an opportunity to make it big. So, if we could add on to the team score, it would have been better. In bowling, we did well, but we can still focus on restricting those loose deliveries and stick to our plans and bowl according to the field. I think the side who fields the best is most of the time the winner. So fielding is the key for our team.”

Aiming for their third consecutive title, the Kaur-led team will have to overcome a resurgent Trailblazers to complete their ‘three-peat’. Asked whether the title of defending champions adds any extra pressure on the group, the top-order batter was quick to shrug it off and said that it would give them confidence rather than be seen as pressure.

“It’s always good to win because you have a positive approach and it helps in the confidence of the team, so I would say, I would take it in a positive way that it’s going to help our team go out there [and] once again fight for the title which is already ours. I think it’s a good thing for us and we are going to take it in a positive way,” she signed off.