Mumbai Indians are the champions of the Women’s Premier League 2023 as the Kaur-Brunt duo glided onto the ground to clinch the victory by 7 wickets with 3 balls remaining from Delhi Capitals who couldn’t match the batters much in the long defending fight. Nat-Sciver Brunt was awarded the Player of the Match for her 60-run knock off just 55 balls.
The night was all set for the final of the first ever edition of the Women’s Premier League and the top two teams of the season, Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians were ready to lock horns once again for the final time of the event. Mumbai remained unchanged while Delhi had Minnu Mani coming in for Poonam Yadav.
Delhi Capitals’ captain Meg Lanning won the toss and elected to bat first. Shafali Verma and the skipper walked out full of confidence in the middle to face the bowling attack of the Mumbai Indians spearheaded by the in-form Nat Sciver-Brunt.
The first over was a low-key as in contrast to the final-biggie with both the openers coming off the mark with a single each. But the first ball of the second over by Issy Wong received a smashing hammer from the bat of Verma as she lodged the ball into the stands for the first six of the final match thus announcing the match thunderingly.
The six was followed by a four on the very next delivery but since the name of the fixture was a final of the inaugural season of WPL, Mumbai could not leave things off easily. Mumbai made a quick comeback into the game as Wong dismissed Verma on the third ball of the over followed by Alice Capsey returning back into the pavilion on a duck in the same over.
To get the things going back in track for Capitals, the new down Jemimah Rodrigues tried to turn things in favour of her team with an astounding boundary to end the threatening second over. Easing the early built pressure off, Lanning started the third with two back-to-back boundaries followed by Rodrigues’ second four of her innings.
The fourth could only bring three singles and a double which was further destined to get Rodrigues out on the second ball of the fifth over at just 9 off 8 balls. The pressure looked immense as the powerplay summed up at 38 for the loss of 2 with only a single in the sixth over.
Lanning tried to push some confidence into the game for her side with two fours in the seventh over. Marizanne Kapp and Lanning kept the scoreboard moving with fine rotation of strikes until came up with her first boundary of the innings on the first ball of the tenth over which was anticipated well by the skipper with a boundary on a full-length third ball of the over.
Although, she was looking great with the bat that further brought a four into her account on the second ball of the eleventh over but could not long it more than that as she got succumbed to Amelia Kerr’s third delivery.
Things started turning too dark for Capitals as an unlucky Lanning met her run out at a valuable 35 off 29 balls due to an unacceptably poor communication with Jess Jonassen. Freshly down, Arundhati Reddy too couldn’t bring much into the ground from the pavilion, hence, was sent back into the same at a mere duck.
Next in the queue was the struggling Jonassen as she had to depart on the second ball of the fourteenth over at just 2 off 11 deliveries. With just four singles to add further to the board, the next two wickets were in quick succession in the names of Minnu Mani (1 off 9) and Taniya Bhatia (0 off 2).
It was in the eighteenth over that Radha Yadav and Shikha Pandey brought a boundary each. And the Capitals looked to have got the momentum that pushed Pandey to hit the second six of the night long into the stands followed by two consecutive fours on the very next deliveries. Yadav too, complemented her partner with an astounding boundary on the fifth ball of the nineteenth over.
The last over started with a dot ball to Yadav but two singles and a double again put Yadav on the strike for the last two balls. And Capitals got something that they were probably hoping for. Two back-to-back sixes on the last two balls of the innings from the bat of Yadav pushed Capitals to a comparatively-low-but-fightable score of 131 for the loss of 9.
Hayley Matthews and Yastika Bhatia trotted into the ground to chase down the seemingly low title for a final match. Marizanne Kapp was ready with the new ball to attack. The in-form Matthews commenced the fight for one more time that too in style as she concluded the very first over of the chase with two astonishing boundaries.
Bhatia too tried to open the face of her bat with a four on the second ball of the second over but was dismissed too early by Radha Yadav at just 4 off 3 balls. Matthews on the other hand was moving straight with the runs as she collected a four in the third over but could not make it to the end this time for her dismissal in the following over by Jonassen at 13 off 12.
After a single each in the next three overs, Nat Sciver-Brunt took to much power to chip the third ball of the eighth over inside out over extra cover for a four. And it was now time for the MI skipper, Hamanpreet Kaur to play a captain’s knock in the final which she somewhat started with a four on the third ball of the nineteenth over followed by another in the following over.
Both the batters looked confident with their bats as they kept the chase a bit of low key with some nice running between the wickets going for the big ones only on loose balls just as both Kaur and Brunt picked the gaps well for two well-driven boundaries in the twelfth over.
Kaur, by this time, seemed to be set and the balls looked that of volleys to her as she scooped two boundaries in succession, first in the thirteenth and another in the fifteenth along with keeping well with Brunt on singles in the fourteenth over. Brunt’s four to end the sixteenth over was consumed well but things looked to change a bit as Kaur was run out at 37 off 39 on the first ball of the seventeenth over.
But a poised Brunt, kept the board normal and tried to equalize the big-wicket shocker with two fairly smashed boundaries in the same over. With just five runs coming off the eighteenth over, Mumbai Indians now needed 21 runs off just 12 balls. But it was finally the Kerr-Brunt show of two boundaries each, three coming in the nineteenth over and the last winning four of the season on the third ball of the final over from the bat of Kerr, concluded the match and crowned Mumbai the first ever champions of the inaugural WPL.