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Women take centre stage as Women's T20 Challenge gets underway with thrilling opening match

Pune, May 24 (IANS) The Women’s T20 Challenge which got underway on Monday saw women ruling the cricket field as Trailblazers took on two-time winners Supernovas in the opening match.

The best of the Indian women’s cricket team combined with some of the leading stars from South Africa, England, West Indies and Australia as women cricketers hogged the limelight in the opening match.

Off the field, it was the women who gathered all the limelight as the pre-match show was hosted by female anchors of Star Sports. Sports presenter Tanya Purohit, who is currently hosting the Women’s T20 Challenge, expects the ongoing tournament to get bigger in the future.

“We all have seen how men’s IPL has grown over the years and it has provided a platform to showcase your talent. I expect the Women’s T20 Challenge to get bigger and better as many overseas players are eager to feature in the league,” Tanya told IANS.

“It is also a better platform to show your skills at a bigger stage. This can form a stage where actually the selection happens in the Indian women’s team just like how we see for men’s team,” she added.

Tanya, who has been a part of a star-studded Star Sports panel which includes Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Aakash Chopra, and Sunil Gavaskar, feels all-rounder Deepti Sharma will be a player to watch out for as she will be leading Team Velocity in absence of Mithali Raj

“I have a lot of expectations from Deepti as she is an amazing player. And this is what I was talking about that otherwise you won’t get a chance to captain a side but a Women’s T20 Challenge does provide you with the one,” Tanya said

“This is the platform where you show your talent as it enhances your skills. When you play for the country, you might not get a chance to play in the side every time but here you can be in playing XI and you can get back your form,” she added.

Coming to the match, clinical knocks by batters and a four-wicket haul by Pooja Vastrakar helped Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas to get off to a winning start in the opening match of the Women’s T20 Challenge here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Monday.

Supernovas defeated Trailblazers by 49 runs and Hayley Matthews, who picked three wickets for the Smriti Mandhana-led side said losing wickets at instant cost them the game.

“We did get off to a good start but their bowlers did a great job to bring themselves back in the game. When you lose a couple of wickets it does get hard, so umm Kudos!! to them for taking the things and squeezing us when the momentum was with us, said Hayley Matthews while replying to a query from IANS in the post-match press conference.

Hayley Matthews also scored 18 off 14 balls before Pooja Vastrakar wreaked havoc to dismantle the batting of the Trailblazers

“We realized that wicket was very good and outfield was really quick so we went inside with a lot of positive intent,” Matthews said

“I think a last couple of months I’ve been focusing a lot on my bowling, I’m trying to turn myself into an all-rounder and it feels really good that I could come and get a couple of wickets in the first game,” she added.

Supernovas will now be going up against Velocity for their next clash on Tuesday while Trailblazers will be facing the same opponent on Thursday.

–IANS

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