TRAILBLAZERS lift Jio women’s T20 trophy dethroning defending champions Supernovas

India's Smriti Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers has won their maiden Women’s T20 Challenge trophy after outplaying two-time champions Supernovas by 16 runs in the summit clash at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in UAE. Put into bat, Smriti’s scored  68 runs off 49 balls along with Deandra Dottin’s 20. It was left-arm spinner Radha Yadav’s – 5/16 – brilliant bowling which pulled down the Trailblazers’ middle-order . Richa Ghosh contributed 10 runs but  other batswomen failed to touch the double-digit mark. Radha also became the first player to claim a five-wicket haul in the history of the Women’s T20 Challenge.  Trailblazers fell short by 16 runs in their 20 overs. Bangladeshi off-spinner Salma Khatun – 3/18 – was the wrecker-in-chief for Trailblazers while  Deepti Sharma and Sophie Ecclestone settled with two and one wickets respectively. Smriti was adjudged the Player of the Final and Radha was named Player of the Series. Trailblazers’ skipper Smriti Mandhana , who played a stellar role  for her team, says’’ she always believed in her team’s potent spin attack to defend a low total in the Women’s T20 Challenge final, which her side won by 16 runs against Supernovas. Despite a fiery start, Trailblazers could post only a modest 118 for eight on Monday but Mandhana said she knew the slow nature of the surface would help her side’’, says Gulf News.”It was an amazing performance. We tried to get to 130-140 but somewhere we lost track. Wicket was tough to bat so I knew any total around 120 would be a fighting total. We have good spin attack and I was really positive from first ball, “said at the post -match press conference. Off-spinner Salma Khatun took three wickets in the penultimate over, dismissing rival skipper Harmanpreet Kaur in the process and Mandhana acknowledged her effort.“She was brilliant. Those spells win you matches. She is an experienced campaigner. I just told her to believe in herself and she delivered. Her spell was the winning spell,” she said.

IPL Supernovas, IPL Velocity and IPL Trailblazers played each other once in the group stage with the top two advancing to the final. A total of 12 foreign players were selected England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Thailand for playing this term sponsored by the BCC as in the previous years. Supernovas had  South Africa’s Ayabonga Khaka, Sri Lankan women’s team captain Chamari Atapattu and her compatriot Shashikala Siriwardene, and West Indies’ Shakera Selman. Khaka is one of the first two South African players, along with Suné Luus, in the Women’s T20 Challenge. The 28-year-old medium pacer is a veteran of 60 ODIs and 29 T20Is, bagging 72 and 28 scalps respectively. Trailblazers comprised the No. 1 bowler in women’s T20 cricket, England’s Sophie Ecclestone. They had explosive Caribbean batter Deandra Dottin and Bangladesh off-spinner Salma Khatun, along with Thailand’s Natthakan Chantham. The historical venue of Sharjah Cricket Stadium hosted the Jio Women’s T20 Challenge from November 4 (Wednesday) to November 9. The third edition of the tournament was played between Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity. The cream of Indian women’s cricket  vied for honours along with notable overseas players. edited by PK Chakravarty

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