Mithali Raj rues lack of recovery time as Velocity succumb to a nine-wicket defeat

Mithali Raj rues lack of recovery time as Velocity succumb to a nine-wicket defeat

Jhulan Goswami celebrates a wicket. © BCCI/IPL

Velocity skipper Mithali Raj believed that short turnaround time could have been a factor for their poor performance in the second match of the Women’s T20 Challenge at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium Thursday (November 5).

Velocity had an outing to forget during the nine-wicket loss to Trailblazers after they were bundled out for only 47 runs in the afternoon game. On the opening day of the tournament, they came out on the right side of a thriller against Supernovas winning the match by five wickets with a ball to spare.

“We haven’t even got 12 hours to recover from the last game. It has been difficult for the girls to prep themselves and come back and play the afternoon game,” Raj said at the post match press conference.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first on a fresh wicket, it looked like Raj’s decision could pay off with Shafali Verma looking threatening for a brief period. Once she was dismissed, it was a procession of sorts and Velocity couldn’t recover at any stage.

“We carried the confidence from the last innings. The batters especially the middle-order was very good in scoring in the evening match. We thought that since the wicket was fresh, we didn’t want to take the pressure of chasing again and hence batted first,” Raj said about her decision to bat first.

"Trailblazers have a good bowling attack. They are quite experienced with Jhulan Goswami and Sophie Ecclestone – both of them gave them the breakthroughs."

Sophie Ecclestone was the wrecker-in-chief for Trailblazers taking 4 for 9 from her overs. She bowled with great control and used pace variations to great effect.

“That’s the reason why she is number one because she has come up with a game plan and has quickly adapted to the line and length,” Raj lauded the England spinner.

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“After Shafali hit her for a six, she was quick and bowled a length not up to the batter but on the shorter side, which was why I think she got the wickets in the power play because the new ball it skids through and made it difficult for the batters.”

Trailblazers’ Jhulan Goswami had a great game taking two wickets including the prized scalp of Verma. She echoed her veteran India teammate’s views about Ecclestone and said the whole bowling attack put in a lot of efforts during the training sessions.

“Sophie was fantastic and Raja was absolutely brilliant. But all the bowlers worked on certain plans and how to come out and execute those plans,” Goswami said.

“They put a lot of effort during the train sessions, because after the fourteen days of quarantine. We got only four-five sessions of training and they were just working on their bowling. They are pros, they know how to control the situation because they keep playing lot of matches in this format.”

"I just tried to bowl on the right areas because there was no bounce on the wicket," the 37-year-old said while talking about her own spell. "After a long layoff I was playing this format and so it was just about getting back to your rhythm, get back the momentum and tried to bowl in the right areas.”

Trailblazers will now face Supernovas in the last group match on Saturday (November 7). The huge loss on Thursday have dented Velocity’s net run rate and they will have to depend on Trailblazers to defeat Supernovas to make it to the final of the four-match tournament.

“It’s one of days you want to forget. I personally wouldn’t have wanted to depend on other team for the qualification but unfortunately I find my team in that position,” Raj concluded.