Despite the absence of a sizeable crowd on a sultry Tuesday afternoon in Mumbai, the first-of-its-kind women’s exhibition T20 match had an entertaining finish where Harmanpreet Kaur-led Supernovas edged past Smriti Mandhana’s by three wickets.
The Supernovas chased down a target of 130 in a last-ball finish.
Needing 10 runs in last two overs, Ellyse Perry (13 not out) struck a boundary off Ekta Bisht but Mona Meshram (4) was run out by Smriti Mandhana off the last bowl of the penultimate over.
Needing four off the last over, New Zealand international Suzie Bates conceded just a single in the first three deliveries bringing the equation down to run-a-ball. Pooja Vastrakar (2 not out) lofted to mid-wicket where Jhulan Goswami dropped a catch and a chance to force a tie, as the batters completed a single and sparked off celebrations.
Being an exhibition match, all 13 players from either side were allowed to take part in the match.
The highlight of the match was the sensational catching of Supernovas with Harmanpreet leading from the front, taking a stunning two-handed diving catch at mid-on to dismiss her counterpart. The catch that Perry took to dismiss Jemimah Rodrigues during the Trailblazers innings was out of top drawer as well. And Veda Krishnamurthy took a great catch as well, to go with her great ground fielding.
Chasing 130, veteran Mithali (22) and Dani Wyatt conjured a 47-run-stand for the opening wicket. Mithali stuck a six, the first of the match and followed it with a boundary in the fifth over. But spinner Ekta Bisht broke the stand removing Mithali, who was caught by Lea Tahuhu.
But as it looked that Wyatt was taking the game away from Trailblazers, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav cut short her stay at the crease.
Australian skipper Meg Lanning (16) was in her element before giving a sitter to Jemimah Rodrigues at long-off as the Supernovas slumped to 71/3 after a strong start. But then Harmapreet Kaur (21) and Sophie Divine (19) stitched a crucial 36-run-stand that took the game away from the Trailblazers before a late turnaround.
Earlier, Bates (32 off 37 balls) and Rodrigues (25 off 23 balls) added 45 runs for the fifth wicket to ensure a decent total for the Trailblazers.
White Ferns captain Bates was the player of the match. Most of the players spoke highly of the experience with Perry summing it up thus:
“It was an incredible experience. To play at the Wankhede was awesome. This is great for the health of the game. The IPL for women is the missing piece of the puzzle now.”
Trailblazers 129/6 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 32, Jemimah Rodrigues 25, Megan Schutt 2/18, Ellyse Perry 2/20)
Supernovas 130/7 in 20 overs (Dani Wyatt 24, Harmanpreet Kaur 21, Mithali Raj 22, Suzie Bates 2/16, Poonam Yadav 2/21).
(With PTI inputs)