Australia’s national team captain and deputy will lock horns when Delhi Capitals (DC) faces UP Warriorz (UPW) in a Women’s Premier League group stage clash at the DY Patil Stadium on Tuesday.
DC’s Meg Lanning and UPW’s Alyssa Healy come into this game with wins in their opening fixtures.
Delhi almost cantered to a comfortable 60-run win against Royal Challengers Bangalore. That showing saw Delhi’s batting and bowling come to the party. The side posted the highest score of the WPL so far (joint-second highest women’s T20 franchise score and third-highest score in women’s T20s in India) with Lanning and Verma registering a formidable 162-run opening partnership. They blunted an RCB attack that comprised Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Renuka Singh among others.
With the ball, Delhi reaped the rewards of being the only franchise to invest in an associate player (which gives the side the advantage of fielding five foreign players). American left-arm pacer Tara Norris took a five-for on debut, derailing what initially looked like a spirited RCB response.
Warriorz, on the other hand, had a nervy start to the tournament with Gujarat Giants putting up a fight till the last over. A concoction of contrasts helped the team steal a thrilling three-wicket win in the end. A calm half-century from Kiran Navgire steadied the chase after a flurry of wickets fell and an adrenaline-powered late flourish from Grace Harris even had Healy signalling her players to calm down.
The two teams are evenly matched up for their clash. Warriorz possess one of the best blends of Indian and foreign talent in their squad and the thinktank was not afraid to experiment with the batting order, sending Navgire up at No.3 (a position she prefers) as opposed to the finishing role she was originally slotted in.
Lanning underlines the importance of having a captain of pedigree and she is spoilt for choice of attacking options in her arsenal. While Norris singlehandedly stole the show with the ball, Lanning will hope the rest of the line-up, with names like Shikha Pandey and Marizanne Kapp in the ranks, find their feet in the tournament.
The DY Patil Stadium offers a pitch that has something in it for everyone - pacers find bounce, spinners get some assitance with the turn and batters able to take advantage of the ball coming nicely on to the bat, in addition to the dew that sets in later on. All eyes then settle on UP Warriorz’ overseas contingent ahead of this game. Lisa Sthalekar announced that Shabnim Ismail didn’t find a place in her team in the first game but that match also exposed UP’s lack of a premier pacer. The South African can add that zing to the bowling early on, that much more crucial to Warriorz, who are going up against one of the most stacked batting orders in this league.
The only acceptable swap in that scenario is to get Tahlia McGrath to sit out this game, but that’s a gamble Healy will not take in haste. The world No.1 T20I batter was dismissed for a golden duck in the game against Giants. She took one wicket with the ball but was expensive with an economy of 9.00. It can be argued that one game is too few to get someone out of the lineup but given the compressed nature of the tournament and the quick turnaround for the teams, bringing Ismail could sort out a bowling deficiency with the Indian talent - a potent one for UP - being given the responsibility to step up with the bat.
Delhi’s order seems settled and Lanning might not want to change a successful set-up. It remains to be seen, as unlikely as it may be, if Laura Harris, a potent right-hand and Grace Harris’ elder sister, manages to break into the team to give this sibling rivalry a new chapter.
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