New Zealand's Suzie Bates wins the Woman of the Match award for her all-round efforts.
Harmanpreet Kaur's Supernovas defeated Smriti Mandhana's Trailblazers in a historical Indian Premier League (IPL) exhibition match at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. The match was played before the first Qualifier of IPL 2018 between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.
Batting first, Mandhana's side posted 129/6 in their 20 overs. The key contribution came from New Zealand's Suzie Bates who made a 37-ball 32. In response, the Supernova's got to 130/7 in 20 overs thanks to cameos from Mithali Raj, Danielle Wyatt and Kaur. The player of the match was Bates for her effort with the bat and 2 for 16 with the ball.
The much-hyped women's exhibition T20 match had an exciting finish but failed to attract sizeable crowd on a sultry Tuesday afternoon despite the presence of the world's top women cricketers. Needing 10 runs in last two overs, Ellyse Perry (13 not out) struck a boundary off Ekta Bisht but Mona Meshram (4) was run out by Smriti Mandhana off the last bowl of the penultimate over.
Needing four off the last over, New Zealand international Suzie Bates conceded just a single in the first three deliveries bringing the equation down to run-a-ball. A composed Pooja Vastrakar (2 not out) lofted to mid-wicket and completed a single to ensure a win for her side.
The very first one-off Women's T20 challenge went down to the last over. What an experience this has been at Wankhede. Supernovas beat Trailblazers by 3 wickets. Smiles all around #IPLWomen pic.twitter.com/7WwnxEhAtu— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 22, 2018
While a women's IPL is a novel idea, the response at ground zero was a testimony that BCCI still has some way to go before the idea takes a final shape. The lukewarm response was largely due to timing of the match as Mumbaikars decided to conserve their energies for the 7pm cracker.
Also, the BCCI diluted the concept, allowing all players from either side to take part in the match. India's ODI captain Mithali Raj decided against fielding, something that didn't go unnoticed considering the likes of Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Sophie Devine showed utmost professionalism in adverse weather conditions.
The catch that Perry took to dismiss Jemimah Rodrigues during the Trailblazers innings was out of top drawer. Ditto for Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy's top-notch fielding efforts. However, a women's IPL can only be a reality if the timings are suitable for spectators and may be taken to Tier-2 cities where response would be much more than metros which have their own IPL teams.
Back to the match, chasing 130, veteran Mithali (22) and Dani Wyatt conjured a 47-run-stand for the opening wicket. Mithali stuck a six, the first of the match and followed it with a boundary in the fifth over. But spinner Ekta Bisht broke the stand removing Mithali, who was caught by Lea Tahuhu. But as it looked that Wyatt was taking the game away from Trailblazers, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav cut short her stay at the crease.
Australian skipper Meg Lanning (16) was in her element before giving a sitter to Jemimah Rodrigues at long-off as the Supernovas slumped to 71/3 after a strong start. But then Harmapreet Kaur (21) and Sophie Divine (19) stitched a crucial 36-run-stand that took the game away from the Trailblazers.
Earlier, Bates (32 off 37 balls) and Rodrigues (25 off 23 balls) added 45 runs for the fifth wicket to ensure a decent total for the Trailblazers.
Trailblazers 129/6 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 32, Jemimah Rodrigues 25, Megan Schutt 2/18, Ellyse Perry 2/20) Supernovas 130/7 in 20 overs (Dani Wyatt 24, Harmanpreet Kaur 21, Mithali Raj 22, Suzie Bates 2/16, Poonam Yadav 2/21).