UP Warriorz, which is the only team in this edition of the Women’s Premier League to have defeated the Mumbai Indians, needs to win just one of its last two games to make the Playoffs. And, the Alyssa Healy-led side will be hoping to seal the deal when it meets the struggling Gujarat Giants at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The side will once again rely on its spinners - who bowled 18 of the 20 overs against MI - to do the trick.
And on expected lines, the focus will be on England’s left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, whose all-round effort guided the Warriorz home against table-topper Mumbai. Ecclestone, the joint top wicket-taker in the tournament with 12, provides the team a solid batting option down the order, and it will be great to have her in her elements against the Giants.
In the game against Mumbai, Warriorz’s top-order batting failed to make it count. As the league stage heads to the fag end, it will be important for the team to get its house in order and be well-prepared for the Playoffs.
On paper, the Giants - placed at the bottom of the table - still has a chance to reach the Playoffs, but realistically speaking, the scenario is grim. Despite having four points from seven matches - same as Royal Challengers Bangalore - the Gujarat outfit has a net run-rate of -2.511, as compared to RCB’s -1.044. So, that sort of takes away the Giants’ chances of finishing in the top-three and even if the side manages to pull off a huge win against Warriorz, it would still need to count on other results.
And, it being the last game for the Sneh Rana-led side, it’s an uphill task. Despite all the hype around it, the Giants have struggled throughout the tournament.
In the batting department, Harleen Deol - the highest run-scorer for the team with 198 - Ashleigh Gardner (144 runs in seven games) and Laura Wolvaardt (126 from three games) have been the top performers for the Giants, but the inability to capitalise on the situations have hurt the team.
The bowling has revolved around Gardner and Kim Garth - both with nine wickets - while others have struggled. And against a much-settled Warriorz, it will be a challenge for the Giants to master the challenging conditions and put their best foot forward.