Captain Harmanpreet Kaur struck a sensational half century as Supernovas clinched the Women’s T20 Challenge title with a four-wicket win over Velocity in a dramatic summit clash in Jaipur on Saturday.
Kaur (51) produced a late onslaught on the Velocity bowlers after the Supernovas made a heavy weather of a small chase of 122. The Supernovas overhauled the target off the last delivery of the run chase, reaching 125/6 from 20 overs.
Coming out to bat in the 11th over at the team score of 53 for 2, the India T20 captain first saw her team lose wickets in a flurry as Velocity gained upperhand. She then struck a quickfire 51 off 37 balls which was laced with four boundaries and three sixes to take her side to the threshold of victory.
The Supernovas needed seven from the final over but drama unfolded as Kaur was out in the second delivery which raised the visions of a Velocity win once again. But Lea Tahuhu (2 not out) and Radha Yadav (10 not out) kept their nerves, ran hard and got the required runs in a tense finish. It was Radha’s 4-ball 10 that helped her side cross the finish line.
Earlier, Velocity posted a superb recovery from 37/5 to reach 121/6 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.
The Supernovas struggled initially with the Velocity bowlers not allowing them score runs easily.
Opener Chamari Atapattu was run out for 2 in the second over while going a third run but half centurion Jemimah Rodrigues (22) and Priya Punia (29) steadied the run chase with a 44-run stand for the second wicket.
The runs were hard to come by with the Velocity bowlers stifling the Supernova batters. The Supernovas were dealt a blow as Rodrigues and Punia fell in consecutive deliveries on either side of the 10th over timeout to leave them in trouble.
Rodrigues fell to Amelia Kerr who took the catch off her own bowling off the final delivery of the 10th over while Punia was dismissed by Vaidya in the first ball of the 11th over.
The Supernovas were 53/2 at the halfway stage, needing 69 from 10 overs. Pressure began to pile on the favourites.
Bangladesh bowler Jahanara Alam then removed Natalie Sciver (2) and Sophie Devine (3) in her consecutive overs (14th and 16th) to reduce Supernovas to 64 for 5 in the 16th over.
The Supernovas needed 45 runs from the final five overs and Kaur showed why she is considered the premier star in the country with a flurry of boundaries. She hit two fours off Alam in the 16th over and followed it up with two sixes off Vaidya in the 18th over to take her side near the victory target.
Earlier, Supernovas produced a clinical bowling display to restrict Velocity to 121.
Sent into bat, Velocity suffered a batting collapse as they were reduced to 37/5 in the eighth over before Kerr (36) and Sushma Verma (40 not out) stitched 71 runs in 10.5 overs for the sixth wicket to take their side to a respectable total.
But for the superb late fightback by Kerr and Verma, Velocity would not have even crossed the 100-run mark. Wicketkeeper Verma top-scored for Velocity with a 32-ball 40 not out which was laced with three fours and a six.
Kerr, who holds the record of scoring highest individual runs (232 not out) in ODIs, hit 36 off 38 deliveries which had four boundaries in it.
Velocity made a disastrous start, losing a wicket each in the first three overs to be reduced to 14 for 3.
New Zealand pacer Lea Tahuhu swung the second ball of the innings away from Hayley Mathews who edged it to the keeper for a duck. In-form Danielle Wyatt (0) went for a pre-meditated shot in the next over bowled by Anuja Patil but failed to connect with the ball due to a late drift and was stumped.
Shafali Verma hit a couple of boundaries in the third over bowled by Tahuhu who, however, had the last laugh by dismissing the 15-year-old off the next delivery with Anuja Patil taking the catch.
A brief period of recovery intervened with captain Mithali Raj (12) and Veda Krishnamurthy (8) stitching a 23-run partnership for the fourth wicket before both fell in the space of four deliveries without addition of any run.
It left the Velocity innings in a mess before Kerr and Verma rescued their side with a superb partnership.
For Supernovas, Tahuhu took two wickets for 21 runs while Patil, Devine and Poonam Yadav grabbed a wicket each.
Harmanpreet was the player of the match while Rodrigues was given the player of the tournament award.
(With PTI inputs)