Sharjah: Defending champions Supernovas will have to get past an upbeat Trailblazers at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday to stay alive in the Women's T20 Challenge.
Brimming with confidence after a crushing win over Velocity on Thursday, the Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers will aim for another win to finish with two victories and enter the final on 9 November with momentum behind them.
They will be up against Supernovas, a team smarting from defeat in the tournament opener against Velocity. Another loss would knock Supernovas out of the tournament.
Trailblazers came up with a stellar bowling performance to bundle out Velocity for 47 with England's left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, the world No 1 T20 bowler, returning impressive figures of 4 for 9 in 3.1 overs.
Mandhana will be hoping that the bowlers continue the good work against a strong Supernovas line-up led by Harmanpreet Kaur.
The southpaw will be aiming to showcase her skills and expect her batting unit to step up in a crunch encounter.
Supernovas need a win and that will bring the net run-rate into play and possibly eliminate Velocity who have a negative NRR (-1.869).
Velocity, on their part, will hope Supernovas lose allowing them to advance to the summit clash.
Kaur, the Indian T20 captain, will look to build on her performance in the tournament opener and hope Sri Lankan Chamari Atapattu continues her good form.
Supernovas appeared to have the match under control before Sushma Verma and Sune Luus took it away from them as the bowlers crumbled under pressure.
On the Sharjah pitch that has gotten slower progressively, the spinners will have a big role to play. Ecclestone will again be a key bowler for Trailblazers with fellow left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad and veteran Jhulan Goswami expected to back her up.
Both Supernovas and Trailblazers possess quality spinners and how the batters of the two sides fare could well decide the fate of the match.
Teams (from): Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Jemimah Rodrigues (vc), Chamari Atapattu, Priya Punia, Anuja Patil, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shashikala Siriwardene, Poonam Yadav, Shakera Selman, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Ayushi Soni, Ayabonga Khaka and Muskan Malik.
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (c), Deepti Sharma (vc), Punam Raut, Richa Ghosh, D Hemalatha, Nuzhat Parween (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Harleen Deol, Jhulan Goswami, Simaran Dil Bahadur, Salma Khatun, Sophie Ecclestone, Natthakan Chantham, Deandra Dottin and Kashvee Gautam.
Match starts at 7.30 pm.
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Mandhana (68) and Khatun (3/16) produced match-winning performances with bat and ball respectively as Trailblazers defeated defending champions Supernovas by 16 runs in the final at Sharjah.