Supernovas 163 (Harmanpreet 37, Dottin 32, Matthews 3-29, Khatun 2-30) beat Trailblazers 114 for 9 (Mandhana 34, Rodrigues 24, Vastrakar 4-12, Ecclestone 2-19, King 2-30) by 49 runs
Harmanpreet Kaur's Supernovas made a winning start to the Women's T20 Challenge in Pune on Monday. They successfully defended 163, a prospect that looked unlikely when Smriti Mandhana raced off the blocks in Trailblazers' chase. From 63 for 1, they collapsed to 73 for 7 in the 13th over, by which time the game was well and truly over. Supernovas eventually won by 49 runs. Pooja Vastrakar, the seam bowling allrounder, picked four wickets while England left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and Australia legspinner Alana King picked two apiece.
1, 0, 2, 0, 0
Trailblazers' Nos. 4 to 8 contributed only three runs in total, as they slumped after Mandhana's turbocharged 34. After Vastrakar got both openers, she got her third when Sophia Dunkley slapped one to mid-off where a diving Priya Punia completed her second superb catch of thre evening. That it came three balls after Mandhana was caught by Punia at mid-on rattled the Trailblazers. With big inroads made, Ecclestone and King joined the fun to close out the game.
How the collapse unfolded
After King dismissed an advancing Sharmin Akhter, who played all around a full delivery, Ecclestone got onto the scoreboard off consecutive deliveries. First, Richa Ghosh slapped a long hop to point. Off the next delivery, Arundhati Reddy was stumped in freakish fashion when she tapped at the ball, which ricocheted off her front boot and back to an alert Taniya Bhatia behind the stumps as she whipped the bails off.
Vastrakar got her fourth when Salma Khatun spooned a catch to cover. The final nail was hammered in when Meghna Singh broke Rodrigues' resistance when Harleen Deol took a brilliant catch while diving forward at deep point. Her 24, however, merely delayed the inevitable.
With the bat, every over of Supernovas' powerplay featured at least one boundary, as Deandra Dottin and Punia got them off to a flier. The final ball of the first over was hit for six, thus signalling an early intent to go for the big hits. Dottin was on a run-a-ball seven at one stage, before launching Renuka Singh for three boundaries in the third over.
That turned out to be the catalyst, as Punia decided to take the attack to Rajashwari Gayakwad in the next over. The opener hit back-to-back boundaries, the first of which was a crisp cover drive while the second was a clever piece of dab between point and short third man. Dottin crashed a four and a six off Arundhati Reddy in the final over the powerplay, before being run out by a direct hit from Akhter at square leg, even as Supernovas finished the powerplay 58 for 1.
Trailblazers hit back, but fall short
Supernovas kept losing their way after the good start, but Harmanpreet Kaur and Vastrakar had added a rapid 27 for the sixth wicket to give them some impetus, but a late collapse meant they finished with at least 20 fewer than they looked like getting.
Harmanpreet's 29-ball 37 ended in a run out when she and Ecclestone ended up at the bowler's end. The Supernovas' captain clearly made her frustration evident, indicating that Ecclestone should have rather risked her wicket by getting to the wicketkeeper's end.
All said, Trailblazers surrendered from a position of strength and have one more game to make amends.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo