WPL 2023: Delhi Capitals eye top spot in return fixture vs Mumbai Indians

When these two teams first clashed, the ancitipation was to see who would fall to their first loss of the season. Now, the fight is for the top spot in the Women’s Premier League standings.

Published : Mar 20, 2023 06:00 IST - 3 MINS READ

Harmanpreet Kaur of Mumbai Indians and Meg Lanning (C) of Delhi Capitals after their first clash in the Women’s Premier League.
Harmanpreet Kaur of Mumbai Indians and Meg Lanning (C) of Delhi Capitals after their first clash in the Women’s Premier League. | Photo Credit: Sportzpics for WPL

Harmanpreet Kaur of Mumbai Indians and Meg Lanning (C) of Delhi Capitals after their first clash in the Women’s Premier League. | Photo Credit: Sportzpics for WPL

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.

Delhi Capitals: Meg Lanning(c), Shafali Verma, Marizanne Kapp, Jemimah Rodrigues, Alice Capsey, Jess Jonassen, Taniya Bhatia(w), Arundhati Reddy, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Tara Norris, Laura Harris, Jasia Akhtar, Minnu Mani, Aparna Mondal, Poonam Yadav, Titas Sadhu, Sneha Deepthi
Mumbai Indians: Hayley Matthews, Yastika Bhatia(w), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, Issy Wong, Amanjot Kaur, Humaira Kazi, Jintimani Kalita, Saika Ishaque, Priyanka Bala, Neelam Bisht, Sonam Yadav, Dhara Gujjar, Heather Graham, Chloe Tryon
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