Smriti Mandhana in action for the Trailblazers. ©BCCI/IPL

Incredible finish to the first match saw Trailblazers beat Supernovas by just 2 runs. Superb individual performances by Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur kept the viewers and fans rooted to the seats.

The much awaited first round-robin game of Women’s T20 Challenge took place at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Supernovas led by Harmanpreet Kaur took on Trailblazers led by Smriti Mandhana. Kaur won the toss and elected to field first.

Mandhana and Suzie Bates opened the batting for Trailblazers and Sciver was given the responsibility to bowl the first over. Just on the third delivery, Mandhana scored a delicate boundary through the point area and picked up another boundary to score 11 runs off the 1st over.

Trailblazers lost their first wicket in the 2nd over as Suzie Bates misjudged a delivery by Anuja Patil and Rodrigues completed a simple catch in the second attempt in the covers. At 11-1, Harleen Deol joined Mandhana but found runs hard to come by.

At end of the 6 over powerplay, Trailblazers reached at 25-1 as Kaur persisted with the spinners. Shackles came off in the 9th over when Harleen Deol made her intent clear by stepping out to Poonam Yadav. Mandhana and Deol both smashed a boundary each and took 12 runs of the over.

50 runs for the Trailblazers came on board in the 10th over. Kaur introduced world’s fastest bowler Lea Tahuhu into the attack and Mandhana picked up two boundaries in the over. Deol picked up another boundary in the next over to take the score to 70-1 after 12 overs.

Mandhana brought up her fifty as she smashed Devine for a boundary. She finished the over by adding one more boundary. In the next over Mandnana stepped out to Poonam Yadav and hit first six of the match and bring up the 100-run partnership of 93 deliveries. She hit one more six in the 17th over and took 10 runs off Natalie Sciver in the 18th over.

Much needed breakthrough came in the 19th over as Deol was caught at long on by Radha Yadav off Devine for 36. Mandhana was next to depart when she too was caught at long on by Atapattu for 90 in just 67 deliveries. She hit 10 fours and 3 sixes in the knock. Trailblazers lost 2 more wickets in 3 deliveries as their innings ended with a score of 140-5. Radha Yadav picked up 2 wickets whereas Devine and Patil picked up 1 wicket each.

Chasing 141 to win, Punia and Atapattu began the innings for Supernovas. Punia fell cheaply in the 2nd over to Ecclestone. In the 3rd over Jemimah Rodrigues picked up back to back boundaries off Jhulan Goswami and one more in the next over. Atapattu scored her first boundary in the next over. Some shoddy fielding by Trailblazers saw 3 catches being dropped on Selman’s bowling and a boundary being scored due to a misfielding.

Fighting knock of 24 runs in 19 deliveries by Jemimah Rodrigues ended when Selman ran her out by a direct hit on her own bowling. At 55-2 the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur joined well set Atapattu batting on 22. At the half way mark the chase was evenly poised as Supernovas needing 79 runs off 60 deliveries.

Immediately Gayakwad lured Atapattu for a big shot and she was caught at long on by Deol for 26. Harmanpreet Kaur smashed back to back boundaries off Deol in the 12th over. Gayakwad struck again as Sciver fell for a sweep and Ecclestone took a sharp catch at square leg to peg back Supernovas to 74-4.

In the 14th over Devine picked up back to back boundaries of Selman and in the next over smashed Gayakwad for the first six of the inning. Kaur and Devine picked up two boundaries in next 2 overs.

With the required run rate rising above 10, Devine hit Sharma for another six. With 21 runs required in 2 overs, it was up to birthday girl Ecclestone to deliver an incredible over and she delivered. She just gave 2 runs and trapped Devine leg before wicket for 32.

Supernovas required 19 runs in the last over. Harmanpreet smashed back to back fours to start the over but failed to connect the 3rd delivery. With 11 runs required from 3 deliveries, she hit 2 more boundaries out of which the last one landed just an inch inside the boundary rope. She could not connect the final ball outside her off stump and Lea Tahuhu was run out at the batters end, thus Supernovas fell short of the target by just 2 runs.

Smriti Mandhana was awarded player of the match.

Brief Scores:

Trailblazers 140-5 (Mandhana 90, Deol 36, R Yadav 2-28)

Supernovas 138-6 (Kaur 46*, Devine 32, Ecclestone 2-11, Gayakwad 2-17)

Trailblazers win by 2 runs

In the next match, Trailblazers will take on Velocity on 8th May at the same venue.