Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals have both qualified for the playoffs of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League. Now, for these two sides, the fight is to see who will finish on top of the standings and secure direct entry to the final on March 26.
The last time these two teams met, it was a runaway victory for Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai - an eight-wicket win with five overs to spare at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Then, a strong and largely untested batting unit stuttered when it came up against a bowling unit with as much depth and efficacy as Mumbai’s. After registering two 200+ scores at the time, Delhi Capitals folded for 105. Meg Lanning will undoubtedly have revenge on her mind but the more immediate need is to iron out tiny chinks in the armour that are getting big enough for oppositions to exploit.
Rediscovering batting rhythm
Delhi’s batting order remains potent but the consistency has dropped a fair bit, especially from the opening pair. Shafali Verma and Lanning shared memorable opening stands in the first half of the league - from the 162-run partnership against Royal Challengers Bangalore or the 107-run stand which gave them a 10-wicket win over Gujarat Giants. The century stands for the DC top order have since dried up as has Lanning’s hold on the orange cap, with Sophie Devine becoming the new holder of the top runscorer reward. Marizanne Kapp and Alice Capsey, who usually come in No.3 and 4 (not strictly in that order) have had performances of note but not consistently enough for Lanning and Shafali to breathe easy when they fall early.
Delhi swapped out Tara Norris, their associate option who allowed them to field five foreign players, for Poonam Yadav to bolster spin against Gujarat Giants. This gamble didn’t pay off. Arundhati Reddy continues to be an underused bowling option and even though she struck with the bat quite commendably to keep Delhi in the game, her sparse use means Lanning is effectively picking a team with ten and a half players. Either a serious bowling option like Titas Sadhu or even bringing back Norris and swapping in someone like a Jasia Akhtar might be an option worth trying.
Foot back on the pedal
Mumbai recently suffered its first loss of the season, at the hands of the UP Warriorz. This may have been a blip given how Mi has shown remarkable cohesion, in spirit and performance. With just two games left, including this one and having already qualified, these two games might give MI the option to consider fielding the likes of Chloe Tryon.
However, Mumbai can and probably will adopt a ‘why fix something that’s not broken’ approach to this and field an unchanged squad unless a last-minute emergency (like Pooja Vastrakar’s injury a few games ago) demands it.
Outcomes of the game
A win for Mumbai will seal the top spot in the league in their name. A win for Delhi will help the side draw level with Mumbai on points and make that final encounter for both teams that much more important.
- India vs New Zealand Live Score, ICC World Cup 2023: IND 140/3 (25); Kohli, Rahul rebuild after Boult removes Shreyas
- Mohammad Shami becomes first Indian with two five-wicket hauls in ICC ODI World Cup history
- Indian sports news wrap, October 22
- IND vs NZ: Poor visibility stops play for around 10 minutes at Dharamsala
- UFC 294 Prelims HIGHLIGHTS: India’s Jubli loses vs Mike Breeden on debut; results