Mumbai Indians continued their unbeaten run in the inaugural Women’s Premier League after fetching a resounding 55-run win over Gujarat Giants that helped them become the first team to reach the playoffs. Harmanpreet Kaur, who made 65 when these two sides met in the opening game, hit a brisk fifty once again before the bowlers delivered in unison to as MI picked up their fifth straight win in the competition.
Mumbai Indians didn’t make the greatest of starts as they were stunned in the very first over of the game. Hayley Matthews hit one straight to cover point to fall for a duck and they made just 11 runs in the first three overs. Nat Sciver broke the shackles with a couple of drives that went to the boundary and two more boundaries followed in the next over as the run rate finally crept above six. Mumbai Indians finished with 40 runs in the powerplay and they needed both Yastika Bhatia and Nat Sciver to get a move on. However, Gujarat kept things tight post the powerplay and if not for a six from Yastika in the 10th over, the run rate would have slipped below six once again. But just when Nat Sciver switched on the gears again with a four and a six, Gujarat struck by dismissing her for 36. To make matters worse, the other set batter Yastka got run out following a misunderstanding with Harmanpreet.
The onus was once again on Harmanpreet to do the damage at the death especially after Yasika’s run out and the skipper didn’t disappoint. After fetching successive boundaries off Ash Gardner, Harmanpreet took on Annabel Sutherland for a couple of more boundaries to race to 24 off just 15. Gujarat then pulled things back by striking regularly, led on the field by some brilliance from Harleen Deol but Harmanpreet struck a couple of sixes off Sutherland to guide her side past 150. The skipper found the boundary a couple of more times in the final over to bring up a terrific fifty before departing for 51.
How did the Giants fare in the powerplay?
Quite awful. Wickets kept tumbling as MI took control of the contest quite early into the second innings. Sophie Dunkley was trapped leg-before-wicket first ball and while Harleen Deol helped her side fight back with a few boundaries, MI struck twice in the final over of the powerplay to take charge. Matthews first got rid of Sabbhineni Meghana before trapping Sutherland lbw for a four-ball duck. 34/3 quickly became 48/4 when Issy Wong opened her column with Harleen’s wicket. Amelia Kerr then accounted for Gardner’s wicket as Gujarat found themselves reeling at 49/5 at the halfway mark.
Any signs of a fightback?
Absolutely not. Dayalan Hemalatha was the next to depart as she gifted Kerr her second wicket and Sneh Rana was trapped lbw the very next ball after fetching back-to-back boundaries off Nat Sciver. Needing 77 runs from the final five overs with just three wickets in hand meant only one thing. Sciver and Matthews then added one more to their tally in their respective final overs to finish with three-wicket hauls as Gujarat crawled to 107/9 in their quota. While the margin of defeat was definitely not as bad as it was in the opening game (143 runs), this would still sting Gujarat as they have now lost for the fourth time in five games.
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians Women162/8 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 51, Yastika Bhatia 44; Ash Gardner 3/34) beat Gujarat Giants 107/9 in 20 overs (Harleen Deol 22; Nat Sciver 3/21, Hayley Matthews 3/23) by 55 runs