Match 1: Sune Luus and Sushma Verma help Velocity beat Supernovas on the penultimate ball

Match Summary

It was a roller coaster ride all along with the match. The first match of the Women’s T20 Challenge was a nail-biting contest between two quality sides.

South Africa's Sune Luus played a fantastic innings to lead her side to victory in the opening game of the #WomensT20Challenge
South Africa’s Sune Luus played a fantastic inning to lead her side to victory in the opening game of the #WomensT20Challenge. PC: ICC/Twitter


Winning the toss and electing to field first, the Mithali Raj led Velocity restricted the defending champions Supernovas to 126-8 in 20 overs. Riding on Chamari Athapaththu’s 44 and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s 31, the Supernovas managed to put up a respectable score on board. Considering the scare of dew in the second innings, the Supernovas were around 20 runs short. Slow left-arm bowler Ekta Bisht was the pick of the bowlers for Velocity as she scalped 3-22 in her four overs. Giving her company were Jahanara Alam and Leigh Kasperek, who picked up two wickets apiece.

Chasing 127, Velocity did not get off to the best of starts as they lost opening bat, Danni Wyatt, dearly. Shafali Verma looked good during her 11 ball 17, but fell to Ayabonga Khaka against the run of play. The onus of the chase rested on the experienced shoulders of skipper Mithali Raj, however, Shashikala Siriwardene spoiled her party as she got the better of Raj. All was not done and dusted till Veda Krishnamurthy (29), Sushma Verma (34), and Sune Luus (37 not out) ensured that they saw their team home. The match went all the way down the wire as the Velocity hit the winning runs of the penultimate ball, with five wickets in hand.

Though 127 was not too big a target, it was enough to keep both the sides interested. Once Velocity lost their skipper Mithali Raj, the game was even steven, and could have gone any way. With still 89 runs to get in 69 balls, the match was evenly poised. Playing after a long break of over seven months, many of the players did not look at their usual best, which was reflected during the game play. The defending champions may have missed the trick as they allowed the likes of Veda Krishnamurthy and Sushma Verma to settle. The duo consolidated the middle overs and created a launch pad for the South African all-rounder to take up from there. Sune Luus did not disappoint as she played with intent and paced her innings perfectly well. The players and the support staff in both the dug outs were equally tensed and were on the edge of their seats till the end of the game. Match 1 was just the perfect start to the Women’s T20 Challenge and there is no doubt that there is more exciting action round the corner.

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Brief Scores:

Supernovas 126-8 in 20 overs (C Athapaththu 44, H Kaur 31; E Bisht 3-22)

lost to

Velocity 129-5 in 19.5 overs (S Luus 37 not out, Sushma Verma 34; A Khaka 2-27) by five wickets

Here’s what Players had to say after the match:

Sune Luus, the player of the match. She says, “It was quite difficult that we needed 62 in 42 when I walked in. They were bowling well. Sushma rotated the strike well with me. I didn’t find the surface too difficult at all. It was coming onto the bat. Couple of sixes from the girls was a testament to how good the wicket was. The pitch played the same both innings, it depends more on your style of cricket. This is such a great opportunity to be here, in these crazy times. It’s extremely great to be playing again. Really enjoying it.”

Mithali Raj, winning captain: “It is challenging (after long break). Most players played the T20 World Cup, but for Jhulan and me it’s been long. I was expecting 120-130 in the first innings. Wish we had a decent opening start, because in low scoring games that’s important. Losing Danny Wyatt was big because she’s a main player, and a bit nervous too. But Veda played well, with Sushma and Sune too. Such platforms help our younger players. They can see Harmanpreet, Smriti and so on and prepare with them. Back to back games can be difficult, because we aren’t getting time to recover, but that is what it is. When we wake up, we’ll be preparing again.”

Sushma Verma, who set the game up with Luus, says “the way we chose to bowl at the toss, I thought that maybe I’ll have to be the finisher in the second innings. I’m well aware of my role in Velocity since I played last season too. My personal runs didn’t matter as long as we won. Nothing new done during the lockdown, just kept my strong beliefs that I can do well. When Luus came on strike, the difference was 25 between runs and balls, so we felt if we can hit 5-6 balls for a boundary we are in. The plan was to not take the game to the last over but I got out. The bonding during quarantine in the hotel room helped us.”

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Harmanpreet Kaur, losing captain: “To win games you need to keep bowling well. Whatever we thought, in the last couple of overs, we didn’t bowl according to plan. They batted really well, got to appreciate that. In the end they batted really well. In the end in our last four batting overs, we didn’t utilize well. Even a single per ball would’ve been good enough but we didn’t get that. Playing after a long time, it’s not easy, but if you keep winning only then can you survive in this tournament. Need to come back with a positive approach. Bit of dew in the end but it’s part of the conditions. Felt we simply did not bowl well in the last couple of overs.”

I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.

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