What does a team have to do to beat Mumbai Indians in the Women’s Premier League? With five wins in the five games the side has played so far, Mumbai has been invincible in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
The side’s fifth win was a 55-run drubbing of Gujarat Giants at the Brabourne Stadium - a win which assures the side a top three finish in the league stage and consequently, a place in the playoffs.
The Giants – having won the toss and opting to bowl first – saw an opportunity to challenge MI early on when Ashleigh Gardner dismissed opener Hayley Matthews in the first ball.
However, with Yastika Bhatia, raring to go at the other end, and Nat Sciver-Brunt joining her, the onus was back on Gujarat to dig deep and find the breakthroughs.
“I really enjoy batting at the top of the order because I can get many balls to build my innings,” Yastika had said after Mumbai’s last match.
And she looked like a player enjoying her time out in the middle, scoring a 37-ball-44, giving MI the start it needed.
However, poor decision-making saw her return to the dugout. A mix-up in the middle saw Yastika stranded in the middle of the pitch and Sabbineni Meghana effected the run out. With Sciver-Brunt being dimissed lbw for 36 soon after, Mumbai had to pick up the pieces to post a defendable total.
Harmanpreet had to shoulder the responsibility of putting some runs on the board as the wickets kept falling at the other end.
The Indian captain, with a 30-ball-51, scored her third half-century in five games but a scintillating dive by Harleen Deol at the long-on boundary ended her stay at the crease, giving Gardner her third scalp of the night.
A wicket each for Kim Garth, Sneh Rana and Tanuja Kanwar saw the Giants restrict MI to 162/8 in 20 overs.
Sophia Dunkley – who scored the fastest fifty in WPL 2023 but was dropped in GG’s previous match – was brought back to the playing XI after Laura Wolvaardt failed to get going.
“Sophia (Dunkley) was just unlucky to get dropped in the last match. She is a brilliant player and did well for us,” GG head coach Rachael Haynes said ahead of this fixture.
However, Sciver-Brunt’s inswinger sent the English batter packing for a golden duck.
By the fifth over, with the asking rate creeping up to nine, Meghana – who had managed to score a run-a-ball 16 – was dismissed by Matthews as she tried to go big on a full-toss and got caught at long-on by Amelia Kerr.
Matthews got her second wicket in the same over, catching Annabel Sutherland plumb in front.
With the scoreboard stagnant and the required run rate skyrocketing, a tumbling catch from Jintimani Kalita off Kerr’s delivery saw Gardner return for just eight off 10 balls.
At 48/5, Gujarat was in need of a partnership. And, with India internationals, Dayalan Hemalatha and captain Sneh at the crease, Gujarat could still hope.
However, a tossed-up delivery by Kerr and an attempt to go big resulted in Hemalatha holing out to Issy Wong at long off, gifting the Kiwi allrounder her second wicket.
Sneh, at the other end, made it past the 20-run mark – an anomaly for the Giants in this match. But Sciver-Brunt ended her innings with another wicket-to-wicket delivery, with GG reeling at 85/7. The English allrounder and Matthews continued their quest for wickets looking to wrap up GG under the 20-over mark.
Though Sneh and co. saw the remaining overs through, they fell short by 55 runs as Mumbai completed the double over the Giants.
Latest on Sportstar
- WTC Final 2023: Josh Hazlewood ruled out, Michael Neser named replacement in Australia squad
- WTC Final 2023, India vs Australia: All You Need To Know, Playing Conditions, squad, live streaming info
- FA Cup Final: Man City beats Manchester United to move closer to historic treble
- Karim Benzema’s top moments at Real Madrid: Ballon d’Or win, 2011 El Clasico goal, hat-trick vs PSG and more
- From Benzema to Hazard: Six players leaving Real Madrid at the end of 2022-23 season