The highly anticipated tournament certainly lived up to its billing right from the start, with the opening game between the Supernovas and Velocity proving to be a low scoring last-over thriller, which was sealed with the heroics of South Africa’s Sune Luus. The Supernovas had set Velocity a target of 127, thanks to Sri Lanka batter Chamari Athapaththu’s fine knock of 44 off 39 balls. India captain Harmanpreet Kaur also chipped in with 31 valuable runs in a contest that was dominated by the bowlers.
Velocity got off to a poor start, losing star batsman Danni Wyatt for a duck. Shefali Verma and Mithali Raj then got out, leaving the women in purple struggling at 38/3 after 9 overs. But Sune Luus and Sushma Verma dug them out of the hole with a fine partnership, that featured some very good running and graceful hitting. Velocity needed nine runs to win off the final over, and Luus scored two boundaries to seal a fine win for her side.
If the first game was dominated by the bowlers, the second saw them decimate the batters. Led by England spinner Sophie Ecclestone’s 4-9, the Trailblazers opened their campaign by dismissing Velocity for a measly 47. It took them less than eight overs to chase the target, with the West Indies’ Deandra Dottin top scoring with 29 to seal a comprehensive win.
The final group game was another nail-biter, with the Supernovas beating the Trailblazers by two runs to qualify for the final. Chamari Athapaththu starred again with an impressive knock of 67 to guide her side to 146/6. Led by fine innings from Deepti Sharma and Harleen Deol, the Trailblazers came close to chasing down the target, but ultimately fell short by just two runs after the latter was dismissed on the penultimate ball of the game. The Supernovas’ win helped them set up a mouth-watering clash against the Trailblazers in the final.
Fans were treated to another low-scoring, tight affair in the final, after the Trailblazers posted a total of 116/8, with Smriti Mandhana scoring an impressive 68 off just 49 deliveries. And their impressive bowling attack starred once again, as they restricted the Supernovas to just 102/7 to win the T20 Challenge. Mandhana was named the Player of the Final, with the Supernovas’ Radha Yadav taking home the Player of the Series award thanks to her eight wickets, five of which came in the final.
It was a fitting end to a tightly contested tournament as the women showed the impressive quality and the immense potential that they posses. Now the onus is on the BCCI to follow the example of the Women’s Big Bash League and set up a full-fledged IPL style tournament which would give women from all over the world a chance to showcase their talents on the big stage.