Women’s T20 Challenge Preview: Revamped Velocity all set to spring a few surprises
The newest team in the Women’s T20 Challenge, Velocity will be without the biggest name in their ranks from the previous two editions: Mithali Raj. With Raj not being a part of the latest edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge, Velocity will be led by Deepti Sharma, with Sneh Rana as her deputy.
While Rana has enjoyed a lot of success as Railways’ captain on the domestic circuit, this will be Deepti’s first tilt at a leadership role in a high-profile tournament. The team also possesses some of the most exciting uncapped players in India in the form of Aarti Kedar and Kiran Navgire, who topped the charts at the senior Women’s T20 Trophy this year.
What have they done in the past?
They first appeared at the tournament in the second edition in 2019 and were the losing finalists against Supernovas. In the previous edition in 2020, they defeated Supernovas in their opening match but then lost to Trailblazers by a big margin and failed to qualify for the final.
Their best display came in 2010, when the impressive debutants went all the way till the final and lost a thriller on the very last ball of the match.
They suffered as a result of playing in less than 24 hours in oppressive heat in the last edition in the UAE and could not build on a promising start in the tournament.
Deepti Sharma (C), Sneh Rana (VC), Shafali Verma, Ayabonga Khaka, Kiran Navgire, Kate Cross, Keerthi James, Laura Wolvaardt, Maya Sonawane, Natthakan Chantham, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Dil Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Pranavi Chandra
Likely playing XI
- Shafali Verma 2. Kiran Navgire 3. Yastika Bhatia 4. Laura Wolvaardt 5. Natthakan Chantham 6. Deepti Sharma (C) 7. Sneh Rana 8. Radha Yadav 9. Kate Cross 10. Aarti Kedar 11. Ayabonga Khaka
Ever since Sneh Rana returned to the Indian team last year, everything she has touched has turned into gold. That’s down to the many hours of hard work and toil that she put on the domestic circuit in the time away from international cricket. In a tournament that features plenty of big names, Rana’s happy knack of providing big breakthroughs will be crucial for Velocity. Along with Deepti and Radha Yadav, Rana will form a skillful spin trio for Velocity.
The leading wicket-taker in ODIs over the last World Cup cycle, Ayabonga Khaka was in fine form in the World Cup as well as the FairBreak Invitational tournament that concluded recently. Khaka will be the bowling spearhead for this innings and her overs at the top and tail end of the innings will be a big factor in shaping Velocity’s fortunes. Khaka does not have express pace but she makes up for it with swing, variation and loads and loads of tactical nous.
With the next edition of the T20 World Cup less than a year away, this tournament will be a great chance for India’s uncapped players to put their names into contention for the big event. Just like Shafali Verma in the 2019 edition in Jaipur, this tournament might well be Kiran Navgire’s big chance to impress everyone and show her big-hitting prowess. Originally hailing from Maharashtra, Navgire represents unfancied Nagaland on the domestic circuit.
She enters the tournament on the back of a big reputation for big hitting. She broke the record for the highest-score by an Indian in T20 cricket in the senior Women’s T20 Trophy last month and also broke the record for the most runs in a single edition of the tournament. Unsurprisingly, she also hit the most sixes in the tournament. She would be keen to prove that she can do it on an even bigger stage against some of the best bowlers in the world.
Velocity might not boast a lot of big names, unlike Supernovas and Trailblazers, but they have plenty of explosive players who can win matches singlehandedly.
In Devieka Palshikaar, they also have a veteran coach who has enjoyed a lot of success in the past. Their all-round strength should see them make the final.