There’s something about UP Warriorz and close finishes. Find us a better love story than these two in this inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League!
The last time these two sides met, players in the dugout and fans watching were left with no fingernails as Grace Harris stole a last-over win for the Warriorz. The reverse fixture was no different, in style and result.
Gujarat Giants won the toss and opted to bat first. Ahead of this game, Gujarat had won all its games batting first while all of the Warriorz’ wins came when they chased.
Laura Wolvaardt (in picture) and Sophia Dunkley got off to a fluent start, keeping the scoring rate high as Gujarat needed a big win to turn their net run rate in a favourable direction. However, Anjali Sarvani took out Rajeshwari Gayakwad took care of the opening pair and Harleen Deol soon after.
Dayalan Hemalatha, who has had a promising season, came to Gujara’s rescue with a fluent half century. She has been crucial to Giants managing competitive scores in the last few games and got a milestone score to her name along the way this time.
Hemalatha had able support from Ashleigh Gardner. The duo kept the scoring rate up and threatened to take Gujarat past the 180 mark. Gardner scored a fifty too.
Parshavi Chopra’s trajectory in this match was particularly interesting. She was brave enough to flight the ball and deploy variations and experiment while facing the experienced pair of Hemalatha and Gardner. Chopra removed both the half centurions. Skipper Healy trusted Parshavi with the crucial 19th over and she repaid the faith by taking out Gardner. Their embrace after the wicket was one for the highlight reel.
Sophie Ecclestone was the most economical bowler for the UP Warriorz and was rewarded for her toil in the last over when she dismissed Ashwani Kumar and denied Giants the chance to breach the 180-run mark. Ecclestone is the only bowler to take at least one wicket in every game she has bowled in this season and is also the new purple cap holder.
Sneh Rana and Co, managed to put up 178 on the scoreboard.. Gujarat seemed confident about striking early.
They managed to do just that. Despite a brisk start, Alyssa Healy, Kiran Navgire and Devika Vaidya fell cheaply. The target looked herculean for the Warriorz. That’s when Grace Harris and Tahlia McGrath entered the conversation.
Dealing in boundaries, both Harris and McGrath scored their fifties in style as the Giants bowlers slowly lost their grip over the game. Harris - known for her heroics against the same opponent in the tournament opener - kept her cool and brought up another half-century with a boundary. She rebuilt the innings
McGrath’s unfazed handling of the Gujarat bowling helped set the stage for Harris. Her 38-ball 57 underlined her status of being the world’s best T20I batter in some style. However, she fell with a fair bit of the target still to be chased down.
When Harris fell, Gujarat had hope to snuff the run flow and close the game out, keeping themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
However, Giants clashed with the immovable force called Ecclestone. The English off spinner has been a handy bat in the death and held her nerves to seal a last-over finish in the Warriorz’ favour with a ball remaining.
A tense finish ended in heartbreak for the Giants who have had a rocky campaign in the inaugural edition. Their original skipper Beth Mooney’s injury, Deandra Dottin’s controversial omission and an inability to find the right playing combination hampered the side this season with plenty of lessons to take forward to future campaigns.
While pacers have not had comfortable runs in the tournament so far, Kim Garth’s performances for the Giants have been impressive. She has the most wickets for a pacer, ahead of the likes of Shikha Pandey and Marizanne Kapp and has consistently backed the faith the franchise has shown in her.
For UP Warriorz, the journey continues. They meet Delhi Capitals in their final league fixture, which might just be the playoff fixture too. All eyes will be on Alyssa Healy, whose had a inconsistent season with the bat. Her contribution up the order will be key to UP having a chance to challenge for the title.
- Bayern’s Tuchel demands stability after topsy-turvy start
- World Athletics Championships 2023: Warholm back on top of world with 400m hurdles gold
- Canada and Germany among six new members to join World Boxing
- Mumbai City to play Neymar’s Al Hilal in AFC Champions League, Ronaldo’s Al Nassr in Group E
- Praggnanandhaa vs Carlsen LIVE Updates, Chess World Cup Final 2023 Tie-breaks: Pragg starts with e4 in first 25+10 match with white