|Welcome to Sportstar’s live coverage of the Women’s T20 Challenge match between Velocity and Trailblazers. This is Nihit Sachdeva, bringing you all the action as it unfolds at the MCA Stadium in Pune.|
6:30 PM: Will Smriti Mandhana’s Trailblazers be able to stop the in-form Shafali Verma tonight?
6 PM: VELOCITY vs TRAILBLAZERS DREAM11 FANTASY TEAM PICKS
Wicketkeeper: Yastika Bhatia
Batters: Laura Wolvaardt, Shafali Verma (c), Kiran Navgire, Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana (vc)
All-rounders: Hayley Matthews, Salma Khatun
Bowlers: Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Kate Cross, Radha Yadav
Team Composition: VEL 6:5 TBL Credits Left: 0.5
VELOCITY vs TRAILBLAZERS MATCH PREVIEW
With both Velocity and Supernovas winning a game each in the 2022 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge, Smriti Mandhana’s Trailblazers finds itself in a tight fight for survival. The defending champion needs a win, and a comfortable one at that when it takes on an upbeat Velocity at the MCA Stadium here on Thursday.
Despite bowling out an initially explosive Supernovas side for 163 in its 20 overs, Trailblazers could not convert its gains in the field into anything with the bat. The side fell short by 49 runs, the biggest margin of defeat in the tournament’s history.
A packed batting order found it hard to keep going. Mandhana and opening partner Hayley Matthews got the side off a good start with a brisk 39-ball partnership in the first five overs, but Pooja Vastrakar struck to send both openers and Sophia Dunkley back to the hut.
Jemimah Rodrigues, who is now fighting for her place in the national team, found herself running out of partners but could have seized the opportunity a bit better herself to get her team close to the target and to make a statement about her return to form on the back of consistent league and domestic performances for the better part of the past year.
Devika Palshikar coach of Velocity felt the team was throwing away their wickets and it certainly looked that way with all the simple soft dismissals inside the circle. She will not dismiss this side though, with the kind of names and how filled with achievements their resumes are, fully expecting them to come back with a vengeance when they go up against her side in a do-or-die ‘league’ fixture.
The win underlined how well Velocity’s leadership group is working. Kate Cross, the designated bowling captain, led the charge with two wickets (Priya Punia and Harleen Deol) to her name. Along with Sharma (who removed Dottin), the duo snuffed out any momentum Supernovas could manage to gather early on and consistently broke partnerships until Harmanpreet Kaur dropped anchor and steadied the side to a competitive 150-run score in its 20 overs.
Velocity will be most happy with what followed in the chase. Shafali Verma seems to have left the demons plaguing her on the field for the last year or so behind for now. Despite a few initial jitters vs Sophie Ecclestone, she took the Supernovas to the cleaners in her 33-ball 51. Laura Wolvaardt, the side’s batting captain, eventually finished the chase with an unbeaten 51 herself and 10 balls to spare.
Dominant performances of this sort put the pressure back on Mandhana and Co. who need to find a way to corner Verma, especially, early on in the innings. While Velocity has the brute force of uncapped player Kiran Navgire and all-rounders who can do a fair bit of damage with the bat (Sneh Rana and Cross), these players have not had a go in this tournament yet.
Matthews and Salma Khatun were able to trouble batters with their variations, Matthews also with her speed. These two will be crucial in Trailblazers’ bid for a consecutive final appearance.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Velocity and Trailblazers have met each other twice in this tournament’s history. While the then-Mithali Raj-led side won by three wickets in 2019 in Jaipur (with Danni Wyat and Shafali Verma orchestrating that victory, the Trailblazers also managed to bowl out Velocity for a paltry 47 in 2020. Sophie Ecclestone was the aggressor-in-chief in that defeat but has moved on to Supernovas this season but Trailblazers won that game with 7.5 overs and just a wicket gone – the kind of win the side needs to stay alive this time around too.
– Lavanya Lakshmi Narayanan
VELOCITY vs TRAILBLAZERS Predicted XIs
Velocity: Shafali Verma, Natthakan Chantham, Yastika Bhatia, Laura Wolvaardt, Deepti Sharma, Kiran Navgire, Sneh Rana, Radha Yadav Ayabonga Khaka, Maya Sonawane, Kate Cross
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana, Sabbhineni Meghana, Hayley Matthews, Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh, Arundhati Reddy, Salma Khatun, Poonam Yadav, Renuka Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sophia Dunkley
VELOCITY VS TRAILBLAZERS Squads
Velocity: Deepti Sharma (c), Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma, Ayabonga Khaka, Kiran Navgire, Kate Cross, Keerthi James, Laura Wolvaardt, Maya Sonawane, Natthakan Chantham, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Pranavi Chandra
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (c), Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, *Hayley Matthews, Jemimah Rodrigues, Priyanka Priyadarshini, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, S. Meghana, Saiqa Ishaque, *Salma Khatun, *Sharmin Akter, *Sophia Dunkley, Sujata Mallik, S.B.Pokharkar.
WHERE TO WATCH VELOCITY vs TRAILBLAZERS, IPL 2022 LIVE?
The Women’s T20 Challenge 2022 match between Velocity and Trailblazers will be telecast live on the Star Sports network from 7:30pm. You can also follow the game on Disney+ Hotstar.