UP Warriorz rode on Sophie Ecclestone’s three-wicket haul (3 for 15) and Grace Harris’ 39 (28b, 7x4) to hand Mumbai Indians a five-wicket defeat, its first in the Women’s Premier League (WPL), and stay in the hunt for a playoff berth.
Coming into the fixture on the back of five consecutive wins, Mumbai Indians struggled to get going at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday, after being put in to bat by the Warriorz captain Alyssa Healy.
Though openers Yastika Bhatia and Hayley Matthews provided the team a brisk start, bringing up 24 runs in four overs, with the latter hammering two consecutive sixes off Grace early on. But as Anjali Sarvani dislodged Bhatia’s leg stump and broke the momentum, Mumbai struggled to rebuild.
With the innings precariously placed at 56 for 2 at the end of the 10th over, England’s star left-arm spinner Ecclestone took control of things with tight lines and lengths, ensuring that both Matthews and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (25) failed to break free.
Matthews was caught behind by Healy off Ecclestone, while the Indian captain was sent back to the dugout by compatriot Deepti Sharma, who claimed a couple of wickets to keep MI’s run-flow under check.
As the Warriorz spinners enjoyed their moment of glory, Mumbai Indians lost wickets at regular intervals before Issy Wong’s 19-ball 32 guided it to a competitive 127. Coming in at a time when Mumbai Indians looked directionless, Wong got the house in order with four boundaries and a six before a run out cost her the wicket.
On a challenging surface, Warriorz, too, wobbled initially, with opener Devika Vaidya falling on the first ball of the second over. Matthews bowled a flighted delivery outside off stump, forcing Vaidya to lean forward and drive. But she ended up finding a thick edge and Harmanpreet dived to her right and grabbed a one-handed catch.
As the Mumbai Indians fans cheered for their team, Kiran Navgire and Healy made the most of a couple of dropped catches and aimed to forge a partnership, before the Warriorz captain was trapped leg before by Wong in the first ball of the sixth over. Shortly later, Yastika sent Navgire back with a left-handed stunner behind the stumps as the UP side struggled at 27 for 3.
But Harris and Tahlia McGrath (38, 25b, 6x4, 1x6) held fort with a crucial 44-run partnership to slowly sway the tie towards UP. The latter hit a flurry of boundaries and a six to ensure that the team reached 66-3 after 11 overs.
Though Amelia Kerr’s return catch cut short McGrath’s stay at the crease, Harris took the pressure off with a couple of fours off Nat Sciver-Brunt. Playing in her fourth game of the tournament, Harris looked calm and composed and set the tone for Warriorz’ victory with yet another classy innings before being caught by Wong off Kerr.
Ecclestone (16 not out off 17) and Deepti (13 not out off 14) ensured there were no further slip-ups. The two stitched 24 runs together and with five needed from the last over, Ecclestone sealed it with a six to make sure Warriorz remained on course to qualify for the knockouts.
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