Barely 16-odd hours after opening the 2022 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge with a win against defending champion Trailblazers, Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas will take on Velocity at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Tuesday.
Kaur has been raving about her side’s bowling potency, enough to choose to bat first against a batting-heavy opponent. “It’s our first game and we want to bat freely. We have a decent bowling side and later on, they’ll do the job for us,” Kaur said at the toss.
Supernovas managed 163 in its 20 overs – underwhelming given the opening spurt provided by Deandra Dottin and Priya Punia (50-run opening stand). In hindsight, Kaur was right to prioritise bating, because partnerships were regularly broken, there were one too many miscommunication-related runouts, and a team looking at a 180+ score settled for a par score, courtesy of some damage control by Kaur.
The bowling meanwhile, despite the reputed names in the lineup, took some time to warm up to the task. Despite the big draws ahead of the game being the spin combo of Alana King and Sophie Ecclestone, Pooja Vastrakar led the onslaught, removing Smriti Mandhana and Hayley Matthews en route to her 4/12.
Deepti Sharma’s Velocity would have been taking notes all through. The side on paper comes across as the most balanced of the three, with the firepower of Kiran Navgire, Laura Wolvaardt, and Shafali Verma and spinners like Aarti Kedar and Maya Sonawane, who finished among the top of the bowling pile in the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy for Maharashtra, in their ranks.
In Kate Cross and Sneh Rana, the team not only has viable members of the leadership group but also two handy all-rounders alongside skipper Sharma herself. Ayabonga Khaka’s pace is another valued asset and she will hope to be as effective as Vastrakar was to help keep the Supernovas batting quiet.
Three matches (at the most in this tournament for a team) are too few to have constructively discuss batting orders but with the quick outfield and the surface proving easy for batters to get going on, one should not be surprised if the batters, especially the names in the roster for this game, to do all the talking.
Velocity: Deepti Sharma (c), Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma, Ayabonga Khaka, KP Navgire, Kathryn Cross, Keerthi James, Laura Wolvaardt, Maya Sonawane, Natthakan Chantham, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Pranavi Chandra
Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Taniya Bhatia, Alana King, Ayushi Soni, Chandu V, Deandra Dottin, Harleen Deol, Meghna Singh, Monica Patel, Muskan Malik, Pooja Vastrakar, Priya Punia, Rashi Kanojia, Sophie Ecclestone, Sune Luus, Mansi Joshi.