Women’s T20 Challenge | At one point, I thought match would be one-sided, says Mithali Raj

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Women’s T20 Challenge | At one point, I thought match would be one-sided, says Mithali Raj

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SportsCafe Desk

05/12/2019

Mithali Raj has stated that at one point of time, she felt that the final encounter between Velocity and Supernovas would be one-sided. The Velocity were put to bat by Supernovas but they could only manage to set a target of 122 runs as the pace bowlers scalped five wickets among them.

The Velocity had a poor start to the powerplay as they lost one wicket each in the first three overs. It looked like they would wrap up well under 100 runs but a late partnership between Sushma Varma and Amelia Kerr ensured they reached a somewhat defendable total of 121. Even the Supernovas stuttered in their chase but a brilliant fifty from Harmanpreet Kaur made the difference, as pointed out by Velocity skipper Mithali Raj.

“I seriously thought it could be one-sided at one point because they had a really strong team. At the same time, I knew my team will fight for every run and they won because of a brilliant knock from Harman,” she said at the post-match presentation ceremony, reported Cricbuzz.

Velocity stood at 37 with their top five back into the pavilion halfway through the seventh over. However, wicket-keeper batsman Sushma Verma scored an unbeaten 40 off 32 and 18-year-old Amelia Kerr scored 36 off 38 before getting dismissed in the 19th over. The skipper credited the duo for their 71 run partnership.

“After the top-order crumbled, the partnership between Amelia and Sushma was very important, They got us to a very respectable total,” she remarked.

Velocity had chased down Trailblazers 112 runs with two overs remaining in their first match followed by a 12 run loss against Supernovas in the second. Mithali felt that such tournaments are necessary for the domestic cricketers to get a feel of international cricket.

“Overall the girls have done really well from the first game and I am really proud of the way they came back tonight. This is what you get to see in international standard (talking about domestic cricketers getting the exposure to play in front of big crowds under pressure). If we have regular matches like these the girls will gain more exposure. Today we had Shafali Varma, Devika played her first game,” she explained. 

The skipper also reckoned that the side’s performance was way better than the previous game against the same opponent.

“We did have inexperience in our bowling attack, but they stuck to their plans. We came as underdogs and the way we played against Trailblazers and today was a far better performance from yesterday,” she said.

The next edition of the Women’s T20 World Cup will be played in Australia between February 21 and March 8. Mithali felt that the T20 skipper Kaur, who has 1910 runs in 85 innings in the shortest format, will be India’s core player in the marquee tournament.

“Harman is a very important player for India and she's someone India will bank on when they play the T20 World Cup,” she asserted.

Supernovas’ Priya Punia scored a crucial 29 runs off 31 deliveries at the top and was instrumental in their victory. She credited her father and coach for the fine knock.

“I played to my strength this time, which my father and my coach asked me to,” she said.

Jemimah Rodrigues was the highest run-getter of the tournament and thereby, she was awarded the Player of the Series. The 18-year-old had scored 24 off 19 in the first game against Trailblazers and then smashed 77 runs in 48 deliveries against Velocity in the previous encounter. She scored a crucial 22 in the final which took her total tally to 123 runs. The Mumbai batsman has 608 runs at an average of 30.40 in 21 T20I innings but has only scored 186 runs in 10 innings in ODIs. She feels that she needs to be more consistent at the international level.

“As a cricketer, I needed to be a lot more consistent at the international level. Even (WV) Raman sir's advice, the small things are very important. I wouldn't want to forget my parents either at this stage, and everyone else who's supported me,” she signed off.

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