Chasing 130 to win just 24 needed of 38 balls with 7 wickets in hand, Novas clearly was on the driving seat in a near empty stadium. It was that time when New Zealand star Suzie Bates came into the action and it’s her and the Jhulan Goswami’s bowling that turned the tide for the Blazers. Novas scored just 18 runs in 32 balls and lost the wickets of Harmanpreet Kaur( 21), Sophie Devine(19), Veda Krishnamurthy (2) who got out while playing a careless and unnecessary scoop only to find her stumps uprooted by a brilliant Yorker by ace pacer Jhulan.
Mona Meshram (4) got run out due to casual running and a brilliant piece of fielding by Blazers captain Smriti Mandhana leaving Novas 4 needed of 6. When Perry (13*) wanted to keep the strike for the final over and so pushed the final ball of the Ekta Bisht’s over to mid-off for a single Mona, first of all responded the call late and then instead of dragging her bat into the crease took it casually. Mandhana despite not able to gather the ball in her first attempt hit the wicket and Aussie wicket keeper Healy knew that they got the wicket. When the third umpire declared Meshram out one the when hand it looked like Smriti cant believe what she has done, one the other hand Danielle Wyatt was seen telling to Mithali Raj that Mona should have dragged the bat into the crease.
So 4 was needed of the final over of the bowling of Suzie Bates and she conceded 3 in first five ball , Pooja And Perry played one dot ball each. As one needed in the final ball after consulting with Bates and Jhulan Smriti called all her fielders except one in deep midwicket boundary. As Pooja played a flat batted stroke the ball it passed the diving Jhulan and both Pooja (2*) and Perry strolled for a single to clinch the victory.
But much before the exciting finish which made the spectators stand up on their feet, Harmanpreet Kaur, Novas captain won the toss and decided to field first. Smriti Mandhana, the Blazers captain along with the Aussie Star Healy came to bat and Healy made the perfect start as she sent the first ball of the match by Anuja Patil for four through point. Both of them gathered 12 from the first over, but soon Healy was removed by her team mate Megan Schutt (2/18) for 7. 3 balls later Smriti (14) was caught extraordinarily by her counterpart of the bowling of Aussie All rounder Ellyse Perry(2/20) . All the people out there were awestruck by her effort as she ran backward and jumped perfectly to pull the ball out of the air. Very next over Beth Mooney (4) was also given out by the third umpire though the replay clearly showed that there was nothing behind the line as per Schutt’s foot is concerned.
In entire men IPL, umpiring has raised questions and in women’s match it followed the same. At the beginning Novas were brilliant on the field and as the time went by, they started to drop catches. Wicket keeper Taniya Bhatia dropped two chances while Lanning wasn’t able to hold the ball as she went for an absolutely stunner. The easiest catch was dropped by Devine when she dropped Shikha at short fine leg. Having said that, the overall standard of the fielding was good in both the innings as one need to keep in mind the heat and humidity out there in Mumbai. After the initial blows Suzie Bates along with two Indian teenagers Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues build the innings and Shikha Pandey’s useful contribution at the end helped Trailblazers to reach to a respectable total of 129.
During the innings break Jemimah pointed out that they have a decent bowling line up and as the wicket is rather on a slower side they have the chances to give a fight. That turned out to be true as after the superb opening partnership of Mithali and Danielle Wyatt, the SuperNovas had to work hard for their runs. Ekta Bisht (1/24) and Poonam Yadav (2/21) made the life harder for the batters and duo got the wickets of Mithali (22) , Wyatt (24) and Lanning (16) , and then the final touches were left to be drawn by the veteran seamer like Jhulan (1/22) and Bates (2/16).
The spectators though in a small number came to support both the teams – Trailblazers and SuperNovas due to the faulty organization in the part of BCCI. In a historic move BCCI under COA organized first ever Women’s IPL Exhibition match in Mumbai. 10 overseas player including Meg Lanning, Healy, Mooney, Perry and Schutt from Australia, Wyatt, Hazell from England and Bates, Devine and Tahuhu from the New Zealand and 16 Indian players were divided in two teams led by Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. In a 13 side game which was organized before the First Qualifier of Men’s IPL. Though historic move, the, match was played in a near empty stadium. BCCI which allowed the people to see two matches in a single ticket failed to attract the spectators because of the fact that the match held between the weekdays and the time. A 2 pm start in the hot summer day means most of the people opted to stay inside and watch the match on TV.
The spectators started to build up as the hours past by. Though the stadium was not full, the online stream got the support and at one moment the match was viewed by 210K people on Hotstar. The excitement was also visible on the tweeter as it flooded with #BlazersVSNovas hashtag. And as the historic move by BCCI turned out to be somewhat fruitful, we the fans can hope for the Women’s IPL in a year or so as expressed by the foreign stars and the Indian internationals. Let’s hope for the best and keep the finger-crossed until our demand is met.
Blazers: 129/6 (Bates 32 ; Deepti 21; Rodrigues 25; Schutt 2/18; Perry 2/20) lost to
SuperNovas: 130/7 ( Mithali 22; Wyatt 24; Perry 13*; Yadav 2/21; Bates 2/16)
by 3 wickets.
Player of the Match: Suzie Bates for her 32 and 2/16 of 3 overs