Limiting Trailblazers openers in the final is key, believes Supernovas pacer Shakera Selman

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Limiting Trailblazers openers in the final is key, believes Supernovas pacer Shakera Selman

Shakera Selman in action in Women's T20 Challenge. © BCCI/IPL

Supernovas pacer Shakera Selman believes that if they can limit Trailblazers openers Deandra Dottin and Smriti Mandhana at the top, then the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side have a chance of sealing their third Women’s T20 Challenge final on November 9 in Sharjah.

“We know how good batting depth Trailblazers have,” Selman told reporters after Supernovas clinched a two-run thriller against Trailblazers in the final round-robin game on Saturday (November 7).  “I think if we can limit their captain (Mandhana) and Deandra at the top and get them early, then we can put real pressure on them.”

Having lost the first match against Velocity, Supernovas needed to win against Trailblazers. Batting first, the Women in Blue posted 146/6 in 20 overs with opener Chamari Atapattu leading the charge scoring 48-ball 67. Another opener Priya Punia too played a perfect fiddle to Atapattu with 30.

“We were still confident (going into the game). We knew where we went wrong in the last game. We had a very good start with the bat and that gave us the momentum and confidence to defend the total,” said the West Indian.

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“Honestly, our plan was to take one ball at a time. Obviously, Atapattu was really good with the bat. Priya played a great supporting role for her. We just played each ball on its merit.” Harmanpreet also played a crucial knock of 31. “It feels really great to reach the finals. Obviously, Supernovas are known to lose the first game and win the second and then win the competition. Hopefully, we can repeat that,” she added.

In reply, Trailblazers had a great start with Dottin and Mandhana adding 44 for the first wicket. While Selman got rid of her fellow country mate, Anuja Patil caught and bowled Mandhana. They also lost Richa Ghosh and Dayalan Hemlatha for identical scores of four.

Harleen Deol joined Deepti Sharma in the middle and the duo added 52 runs for the fifth wicket before falling short by two runs. “When I and Harry (Harleen) were in the middle, we spoke about hitting one or two boundaries so that we can take the game closer. Since I was batting for a longer period of time, my plan was to hit the ball so that my partner can rotate the singles. That was the plan,” said Deepti.

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“Ideally, the wicket stays low and slow, but today the wicket was good, the ball was coming onto the bat nicely. There were some balls which kept low but I think it was a good score to chase on. We might have lost the match but I think we did very well overall. Winning or losing is a part of the game after all.”

Speaking on her preparations pre-tournament, Deepti said, “After the lockdown, I worked a lot on my game. I worked on my lofted shots and the inside-out shots which I applied here today. Obviously, the wicket here is different from India, a bit of low and slow, but for me wicket doesn’t matter as I believe in ‘just see and hit the ball’.”

Asked about what will be in focus for the final, the Indian allrounder said, “Nothing extraordinary but rectifying the small and silly mistakes that we have done in these two matches. We have a practice session tomorrow and will focus on those areas do that we don’t repeat them in the final.”