When Chamari Atapattu gets going, she is a delight to watch. Her splendid 67 (48b, 5×4, 4×6) took Supernovas to what proved a match-winning 146 for six against Trailblazers in the Women’s T20 Challenge at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Smriti Mandhana’s side made a gallant effort before falling short by two runs. Deandra Dottin (27, 15b, 4×4, 1×6) and Smriti (33, 40b, 2×4, 1×6) had got the side off to a good start before the former fell leg-before to Shakera Selman. Deepti Sharma (43 n.o., 40b, 5×4) and Harleen Deol (27, 15b, 3×4) added 52 for the fifth wicket but it wasn’t enough to take the side over the line.
Earlier, the defending champion may have expected to end up with a bigger score, but losing three wickets in the final over — all through run-outs — didn’t help.
But Atapattu had done enough to ensure that Supernovas was very much in the contest and tournament. The left-hander from Sri Lanka had made 44 in a losing cause against Velocity, but not briskly enough in the opening game. On this night, she seemed determined to score at a better strike-rate and did. With her opening partner Priya Punia (30, 37b, 3×4) struggling early on, the onus was on Atapattu to find the runs.
Breaking the shackles
Though Priya was finding the fielders with amazing regularity — it took her 16 balls to hit the first four — she eventually broke the shackles and added 89 for the first wicket in 12 overs before falling to a fine, diving catch at deep mid-wicket by Deepti Sharma off off-spinner Salma Khatun.
A few balls later, Atapattu reached her fifty, courtesy a misfield by Jhulan Goswami on the boundary. She didn’t need such generosity from the fielders most of the time, though, as she played some lovely strokes all over the ground.
Harmanpreet Kaur made 31 (29b, 1×4, 1×6) to justify her decision to bat first.