Atapattu and Yadav stand tall as Supernovas and Trailblazers make the final
Supernovas 146 for 6 (Atapattu 67, Kaur 31, Punia 30, Goswami 1-17 beat Trailblazers (Sharma 43*, Mandhana 33, Radha 2-30, Selman 2-31 by two runs
A nerveless Radha Yadav defended nine runs off the last over in a must-win match for the Supernovas against the Trailblazers, setting up a final clash against the same opposition on November 9 in Sharjah. After giving up six runs off the first four balls, she cleverly pulled her length back and shifted her line wider to have an advancing Harleen Deol caught by Anuja Patil at extra-cover. Then, with three to protect off the final ball, Radha darted an arm ball into Sophie Ecclestone’s pad for a dot to give the Supernovas a chance to defend their title on Monday.
When Smriti Mandhana was dismissed for 33 for 40 balls, the Trailblazers needed 64 from 45 with seven wickets in hand. Then, when Radha had D Hemalatha nicking off for four, they needed 56 off 30 balls. Deepti Sharma and Deol hit four fours in a row in a blistering 52-run partnership, but Radha’s variations under pressure denied them.
Earlier in the evening, opener Chamari Atapattu had taken off for the Supernovas, scoring 67 off 48 balls. She claimed 29 of the 50 runs the Supernovas made in the powerplay and then converted it into a 37-ball half-century. Her captain Harmanpreet Kaur overcame a tepid start to further lift the Supernovas to 146, which proved enough in the end.
Atapattu stamps her authority
While Priya Punia struggled to find the gaps in the early exchanges, Atapattu kept nailing sweeps and lofts. She lined up Sharma’s loopy offbreaks, taking her for 21 off a mere nine balls. Ever after the fielding restrictions were relaxed, Atapattu fearlessly hit the ball over the top. Despite the presence of three leg-side outfielders, she slog-swept Rajeshwari Gayakwad over square leg for six. It was quite fitting that she brought up her fifty with another sweep, off Deol.
Atapattu’s assault allowed Punia some breathing space, but she, too, later showed that she could execute the sweep, dragging Ecclestone to the midwicket boundary. It needed an athletic running catch from Sharma to remove Punia and cut short the opening stand at 89. Soon after, Atapattu and Jemimah Rodrigues fell to leave their side at 122 for 3.
Kaur checks in
After one big-hitter was gone, the other one stepped up. Kaur plundered 15 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Deol. She ran hard between the wickets and hit the ball harder. She cracked Deol to the left of sweeper cover before launching a six over her head. It interested Deandra Dottin at long-off momentarily, but the ball ultimately bounced off her hands and over the fence. However, Kaur was run-out in the last over, as were Shashikala Siriwardene and Patil, but her blows gave the Supernovas a competitive total.
Selman, Radha close it out
West Indies power-hitter Dottin teed off in the powerplay like Atapattu had done in the first half. She rushed to 27 off 15 balls before her national team-mate Shakera Selman got her and Richa Ghosh in the same over with offcutters. The Trailblazers missed a trick by not calling for a review after Selman pinged Dottin’s pad, with ball-tracking suggesting it would’ve missed leg stump. Mandhana was dropped twice, but she couldn’t make the most of those reprises, chipping a return catch to Patil for a shaky 33. By that time, Trailblazers had already qualified for the final.
When both Sharma and Mandhana were at the crease, Kaur didn’t want to expose Poonam Yadav to the two left-handers. But, when Poonam belatedly came into the attack, Deol pummeled her for back-to-back fours. She bowled just one over, conceding 11 runs. As for Sharma, she picked the slower cutters from Selman and thrashed her for three fours. However, it was Radha who had the final say (much to Velocity’s dismay.