Sune Luus, Sushma Verma combine to take Velocity home in a thriller in the Women’s T20 Challenge opener

Sushma Verma and Suus Luus © BCCI/IPL

An enterprising 51-run partnership from Sune Luus and Sushma Verma helped Velocity snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a thrilling encounter on the opening day of the Women’s T20 Challenge at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday (November 4).

Chasing a target of 127, Velocity got off to a terrible start when Danielle Wyatt tried to cut a back of a length delivery off Ayabonga Khaka in the first over and was caught smartly by Tania Bhatia standing up to the stumps for a duck in the first.

Shafali Verma started from where she left in the 2020 T20 World Cup, she punished both the opening bowlers Khaka and Shakera Selman when they erred on the fuller side. After hitting Khaka for three consecutive boundaries, she smashed one straight to mid-wicket when she tried to flick a full toss to mid-wicket leaving Velocity struggling at 17 for 2.

Soon the runs dried up as Mithali Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy tried to resurrect the innings with the Supernovas’ bowlers keeping it tight. Raj in particular struggled to get the scorecard moving even as Krishnamurthy hit a couple of boundaries employing her trademark shots lofting Khaka over cover and then sweeping Radha Yadav through mid-wicket.

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Raj’s innings came to an end when she hit one straight to Selman at mid-wicket off Shashikala Siriwardene for a 19-ball seven. Krishnamurthy played a couple of gorgeous shot during her 29-run knock, but departed trying to keep up with the ever climbing asking rate.

It looked all lost for the Velocity side at 65/4 with the top four back in the hut, but the pair of Sune Luus and Sushma Verma took on Supernovas’ spinners Siriwardene and Poonam Yadav. Verma used her feet to get to the pitch and hit them down the ground for a pair of sixes while Luus preferred to stay at the crease and use the sweep shot to good effect.

The pair brough up their fifty partnership from 50 from 5.3 overs post Krishnamurthy’s dismissal to reduce the target to 12 from last eight deliveries. Poonam came back to take out Sushma Verma for an enterprising 33-ball 34.

It came down to nine from the last over and the target was further reduced to four from four with Luus sweeping the second ball for four. Luus took them home when Bhatia missed an edge and the ball raced away for four.
Khaka was the most successful bowler for the Supernovas, she ended with figures of 2 for 27 from her four overs.

Earlier put into bat, Supernovas openers Priya Punia and Chamari Atapattu looked cautious from the start. Just as Atapattu was looking to open up with a couple of boundaries they lost Punia to a tame drive to mid-on off Leigh Kasperek. Jemimah Rodrigues left soon after when she missed a slower trying to go for a slog sweep to reduce Supernovas to 42 for 2.

Supernovas were 53 for 2 at the half-way mark. In the 11th over, Atapattu smashed a six over extra-cover with Manali Dakshini providing some width. She repeated the feat in the next over, but almost hold out when a diving Wyatt parried it over the ropes. It looked like they were on the ascendency as Harmanpreet Kaur joined her with a monster hit off Luus.

Atapattu hold out to Krishnamurthy off Jahanara Alam when she bottom-edged a lofted shot to long-on for a well-made 39-ball 44. That didn’t deter Kaur from going after Dakshini in the next over for another huge hit over long-on. Kaur didn’t show any sign of rustiness and was looking good for more when she top-edged Alam to fine-leg.

Once Kaur was dismissed, Supernovas’ innings just fizzled out. They lost last five wickets for nine runs to eventually finish at 126 for 8 from the allotted 20 overs.

For velocity, Ekta Bisht was the most successful bowler, taking 3 for 22, while Alam and Kasperek took two wickets each.

Brief scores:

Supernovas 126/8 in 20 overs (Chamari Atapattu 44, Harmanpreet Kaur 31, Ekta Bisht 3/22, Leigh Kasperek 2/23) lost to Velocity 129/5 in 19.5 overs (Sune Luss 37*, Sushma Verma 34; Ayabonga Khaka 2/27) by five wickets. PoM: Sune Luus

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