Match 2: Sophie Ecclestone’s 4 Wicket-Haul hand Trailblazer a 9-Wicket Win over Velocity

Cricket is a great leveler. Less than 24 hours back, the Velocity team was enjoying its win over Supernovas, and today, the same side was at the receiving end of an embarrassing defeat. In this sport, no two days are the same, and it is difficult to predict which team will win, especially in the shortest format.

Sophie Ecclestone
Sophie Ecclestone pose with her ‘Player of the Match Trophy’. PC: IPL/Twitter

Playing its second match on the trot, Velocity won the toss and elected to bat first. After a nail-biting win yesterday, the Mithali Raj-led outfit was filled with confidence and was looking to make it two in two. However, right from the word go, nothing went right for Velocity, as the team underwent a disastrous collapse. India’s pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami and the world’s number one T20 bowler Sophie Ecclestone wreaked havoc as the duo sent the opposition top order packing in just 4.3 overs. Bringing on Rajeshwari Gayakwad early into the attack, Trailblazers continued to add to the Velocity woes. Velocity was bundled out for a paltry 47 in 15.1 overs, courtesy Ecclestone’s four-wicket haul coupled with Goswami’s and Gayakwad’s double strike. Shafali Verma and Shikha Pandey were the only two batters who could manage a double-digit score.

Chasing a modest 48 was going to be a cakewalk for the power-packed batting line-up of Trailblazers. Deandra Dottin, the swashbuckling bat from West Indies, partnered with the 17-year-old Richa Ghosh to see their team home in just 7.5 overs. Skipper Smriti Mandhana fell cheaply for six to Leigh Kasperek. Mithali Raj and co. would want to write off this match as a bad dream and would hope that the Trailblazers beat Supernovas on Saturday for them to make it to the finals that will be played on Monday.

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Velocity’s 47 is the lowest total so far in the history of Women’s T20 Challenge. A side that boasts of batting superstars like Mithali Raj, Danni Wyatt, Shafali Verma, and Veda Krishnamurthy, would have never imagined such a horrific batting collapse. Was it the fatigue that got the better of them or was it simply the bowling brilliance of Trailblazers? Though match 2 of the competition is done and dusted, there will be a lot of thinking going on in the Velocity camp.

Brief Scores: Velocity 47 all out in 15.1 overs (Shafali Verma 13; S Ecclestone 4-9, J Goswami 2-13, R Gayakwad 2-13) lost to Trailblazers 49-1 in 7.5 overs (D Dottin 29 not out, R Ghosh 13 not out; L Kasperek 1-5) by nine wickets

Quotes from the players

Sophie Ecclestone | Player of the Match: We have a great team with a great bunch of girls, to come up here again and play for them is great. When the wicket wasn’t turning, so I tried to keep it straight and vary the pace. It’s quite nice to get few wickets. So many youngsters around, they are teaching me the Hindi language and I’m trying to understand their culture.

Smriti Mandhana | Trailblazers captain: We were really excited. We were raring to play cricket after a break of seven months. It was a good game. I was happy with Mithali’s decision as we wanted to have a look at the wicket. The bowling plans were according to the batters. I just told all the bowlers to keep it back of a length and stick to the stump line. We have a good spin attack. I was following IPL, so I thought we had a good bowling attack (with all the spinners). It’s an exciting tournament, even last year it was really exciting. It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone. This is really going to help women’s cricket.

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Deandra Dottin: I just wanted to get the runs quickly because cricket is a funny game. There could be a spot where you will have to go through on net run rate. Talking to my friends back home, watching Netflix, that’s all that I have been doing during the lockdown. We will rest up a bit before playing our next game.

Mithali Raj | Velocity captain: Definitely (would want to forget this game). But it is fine because when you have a fresh wicket the batters want to have a bat. That’s the reason we chose to bat. Personally, I would have liked Dani and Shafali to have a big partnership because they are the key for our batting line up and we are dependent on them to give us a start. Unfortunately in both the games we didn’t get that, Shafali played a cameo but we wanted Dani to spend some time in the middle and then there was a collapse. We are going to recover from this defeat. I think it is important we regroup and analyze, we haven’t had much of preparation, two games back to back and no team gets bad in one game. The girls just need to cheer up because they would have felt bad after today’s game.

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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