Pune (Maharashtra) [India], May 26 (ANI): Brilliant knocks by Sabbhineni Meghana and Jemimah Rodrigues guided Trailblazers to a 16 runs victory over Velocity in the Women's T20 Challenge here at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday.
The Trailblazers, despite winning the encounter, couldn't keep Velocity under 158, and have thus been knocked out of the tournament on the basis of the NRR.
Meghana scored 73 while Rodrigues smashed 66 runs to give their side a comfortable position in the first innings. For Velocity, Simran Bahadur scalped two wickets, and Kate Cross, Sneh Rana, and Ayabonga Khaka took one wicket each.
Trailblazers needed to restrict Velocity within 158 runs to enter the final but they failed as Velocity smashed 174/9 in 20 overs.
The final of the Women's T20 Challenge will be played between Velocity and Supernovas on Saturday at MCA Stadium in Pune.
Chasing 191, Trailblazers enjoyed a good start as their score read 68 for the loss of two wickets inside the first six overs. Salma Khatun uprooted the stumps of Yashika Bhatia in the 4th over before Rajeshwari Gayakwad trapped Shafali Verma in front of wickets for LBW in the very next over. Openers Yastika and Shafali departed after scoring 19 and 29 respectively.
Kiran Navgire was then joined by Laura Wolvaardt on the crease as the duo started clocking runs at a rapid pace for Velocity as the team crossed the 100-run mark at the halfway mark in the innings.
On the first ball of the 11th over, Poonam Yadav dismissed Laura Wolvaardt to put some break on Velocity's pace. Rajeshwari Gayakwad then removed Deepti Sharma in the next over to put more pressure on the chasing team.
Debutant Kiran Navgire reached her fifty in the 14th over which was the fastest in the history of the tournament.
Kiran smashed five sixes and five fours during her 34-ball 69. Unfortunately, wickets kept falling at regular intervals at the other end, restraining the run-scoring momentum at the start of slog overs and eventually getting the big wicket of Kiran Navgire in the 17th over.
In the end, Velocity lost by 16 runs but qualified for the final with a better Net Run Rate (NRR).
Earlier, put to bat first, Trailblazers had a pathetic start to their innings as they lost the wicket of their skipper Smriti Mandhana with only 13 runs on the board in the 3rd over. Rodrigues joined opener Meghana on the crease and brought momentum to the game.
The duo thrashed the Velocity bowlers at every corner of the ground and kept the scoreboard moving for Trailblazers. They took their side across the 100-run mark in the 13th over, with both the batters achieving their respective half-centuries.
Their duo finally broke after stitching a 113-run partnership, when Sneh Rana dismissed Meghana for 73 runs, leaving the team's total at 126/2 in the 15th over. Rodrigues was joined by Hayley Matthews and the pair anchored the innings for some time.
In the 17th over, Velocity got another breakthrough when Ayabonga Khaka scalped Rodrigues' wicket, who departed after scoring 66 runs. Sophia Dunkley came to the crease with Matthews and took the score across the 185-run mark.
In the 20th over, Simran Bahadur dismissed Dunkley and Matthews back to back and ended the Trailblazers' innings at 190/5.
Brief scores: Trailblazers 190/5 (Sabbhineni Meghana 73, Jemimah Rodrigues 66; Simran Bahadur 2/31) vs Velocity 174/9 (Kiran Navgire 69, Shafali Verma 29; Poonam Yadav 2-33). (ANI)