Velocity 151 for 3 (Verma 51, Wolvaardt 51*, Dottin 2-21) beat Supernovas 150 for 5 (Harmanpreet 71, Taniya 36, Cross 2-24) by seven wickets
It took Velocity only three balls to strike, as Kate Cross removed Priya Punia in the first over of the innings. Punia, who began her innings with a four off the first delivery, was caught in the covers by Ayabonga Khaka when she played an uppish drive. A three-run over from captain Deepti Sharma followed, and Cross struck again in her second over when she removed the in-form Harleen Deol.
Deol couldn’t build on her 19-ball 35 from the opener against Trailblazers as she fell to Cross’ outswing, looking to play a flick but only sending a leading edge to backward point for Wolvaardt to grab.
In 17 minutes, Supernovas’ top three – who contributed 89 runs in the first match – were back in the dugout.
The rescue act
Taniya was promoted to No. 4 after batting at No. 9 in the first game. Her job was simple: stay long and steady the innings. She did exactly that. Alongside Harmanpreet, who came in at No. 5, she put on 82 runs off 63 balls for the fourth wicket – the highest stand ever in the Women’s T20 Challenge – after the early jitters.
Both the batters preferred the assortment of sweeps, with Velocity’s spinners operating from both ends. The first 50 runs of the partnership came at a run a ball, but Harmanpreet upped the rate with a four and a six in debutant wristspinner Maya Sonawane’s second over, the 13th of the innings.
Just when the two looked set for a big score, though, the partnership came to an end when Taniya was run out at the non-striker’s end attempting a non-existent run courtesy Yastika’s quick throw to Khaka, the bowler. Taniya fell for a 32-ball 36, which included three fours.
Harmanpreet, who had scored 37 runs off her first 30 balls and got to ger half-century off 42 balls, finished with 71 off 51 to propel Supernovas to a respectable total. After Taniya’s departure, she went hard, scoring two boundaries and a six in the 18th over off Sneh Rana, after the bowler had conceded just ten runs in her first three overs.
Verma sets the stage on fire
Verma was on song, playing her shots as she always does, but showing off some touch play too along with her big hits. And she had raced away to 47 in 24 balls by the time the powerplay ended, with her team at 60 for 1. They became 69 for 2 not long after when Yastika was bowled between her legs by Dottin, but Verma completed her half-century as scheduled – after an lbw verdict against her, off Alana King, was overturned on review – off 30 balls.
Ending an innings like that – the quickest half-century in the history of the competition – needed something special, and Harmanpreet provided it. Dottin went around the wicket and bowled wide of off stump, Verma flashed hard at it, and it would have flown to the third-man boundary had it not been for a flying catch from the Supernovas captain.
Wolvaardt and Deepti finish the job
In the tenth over, newcomer Kiran Navgire was expected to join Wolvaardt, but Deepti decided to walk out, providing a left-right combination. Though the required rate was below seven at that stage, Wolvaardt was in no mood to slow down. She kept the scorecard ticking with a number of boundaries in her 35-ball knock, while Deepti played second fiddle, scoring at more than run-a-ball but without trying anything flashy.
Wolvaardt completed her half-century, off 35 balls, in the 19th over with a six down the ground off Dottin. And the job was done when Dottin followed up with a short ball that was declared a wide.
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo