Rodrigues' brilliance confirms Supernovas' place in final

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Women's CricZone Staff
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Rodrigues' brilliance confirms Supernovas' place in final

Jemimah Rodrigues in action. ©BCCI/IPL

Supernovas won their first match of the Women's T20 Challenge, against Velocity, ensuring the same teams face each other again in the final. In a captain versus captain clash, that saw India's ODI captain take on their T20 one, it was Harmanpreet Kaur's side that reigned supreme.

Having lost the toss and been sent in to bat first, Supernovas suffered an early loss with opener Priya Punia being dismissed for 16. However, Jemimah Rodrigues then walked up to the crease and dominated. The teenage sensation tore into Velocity's bowling line-up, displaying every shot in her repertoire. From elegant drives to sweeps, Rodrigues' innings had it all. Together with Sri Lankan import Chamari Attapaththu, she put on a 55-run partnership for the second wicket. Once Attapaththu was stumped though, off the bowling of Amelia Kerr, Velocity stemmed the scoring rate to a certain extent.

While Rodrigues continued to show her class, her partners failed to get going. New Zealand's Sophie Devine was trumped by fellow countryman Kerr and departed for a 14-ball nine. Kaur then joined Rodrigues, but she too was only able to score one run off the five deliveries she faced. While the rest of her teammates struggled with their timing, Rodrigues kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely. She remained unbeaten on 77 off 48 balls, in a near flawless innings. Near flawless because, for a patch in the middle, she seemed to lose her concentration and miscued a shot to deep square leg, which was dropped. The following delivery, Velocity missed a stumping opportunity. The team in purple would be rueing missing those chances as Rodrigues went on to add a further 25 runs. Largely due to her, Supernovas finished their innings on a competitive total of 142-3.

Velocity, having won their previous match, then needed to score 117 runs to qualify for the final, if they did not win. Their chase got off to a rocky start as they were reduced to 21-2, with both openers back in the shed. In-form Danni Wyatt then joined forces with Mithali Raj for a 56-run third wicket stand; Velocity's equivalent of the Rodrigues-Attapththu duo. Much like the former in that partnership, Wyatt assumed the role of the aggressor, playing the shots and scoring the boundaries, while Raj rotated the strike. With the required run rate at about seven, Velocity looked to be in control of the match.

That is until Poonam Yadav was given the ball. She completely turned the game on its head with her dismissal of Wyatt, who looked ominous on 43 off 33. Yadav bowled 12 dot deliveries, her four overs going for just 13 runs, bringing the required run rate up to 15.50 by the end of her spell. From there, Velocity went into survival mode. Neither Raj (40), nor her partner Veda Krishnamurthy (30) took many risks. Their goal morphed from wanting to win the match to scoring the required runs to qualify. They reached that total in the 19th over and finished their innings on 130-3, falling 12 runs short of their target.

Player of the Match Rodrigues' and Yadav's contributions meant Supernovas won by 12 runs. Their victory also meant Trailblazers were knocked out of the Women's T20 Challenge. The final, to be held on May 11, will be a rematch of this clash. Can the Supernovas register back-to-back wins, or will Velocity claim the title in their debut appearance?
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