The first match of the Women’s T20 Challenge, which is being played alongside the Indian Premier League, could not have been a better advertisement for the tournament.
Captains Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur – the two pillars of India’s Twenty20 International team – played stunning knocks as Mandhana’s Trailblazers sneaked in a thrilling two-run win over Kaur’s Supernovas on Monday in Jaipur. In a match that went down to the wire, the two Indians shone once again.
After being put in to bat, Mandhana led from the front with a smart knock of 90 (67 balls) adapting to the wicket and batting till the end. The stylish left-hander may have missed on her second T20 hundred but her knock, with 10 fours and three sixes, was another reminder of the Wisden Cricketer of the Year’s prodigious talent.
But she was almost usurped by her T20I skipper as Harmanpreet who marked her return from injury with an unbeaten 46 off 34 balls.
With 19 needed off the final over, Harmanpreet almost got her team over the line smashing veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami for three fours from the first four balls.
With seven needed off two deliveries, Harmanpreet all but won the match with what everyone thought was a six. But after several replays, it appeared that the ball had landed a fraction inside the ropes. With three needed off the last ball, Goswami bowled a perfect ball which Harmanpreet missed and scampered for a single. But it was not to be as her partner was run out.
Nonetheless, it was entertaining cricket which set the pace for the next three matches in the first-of-its-kind tournament between three teams in India. Here’s a look at how Twitter reacted to it.