UP Warriorz beat the seemingly invincible Mumbai Indians by 5 wickets with three balls remaining in the account. A vivid low-scoring thriller Harris and McGrath paved the way for Warriorz to make the situations clear for the playoffs. Deepti Sharma was adjudged the Player of the Match for her all-round performance, 13 not-out off 14 and 2 wickets for 35.
Warriorz won the toss and chose to bowl first. Yastika Bhatia and Hayley Matthews trotted into the crease to open the MI innings. Rajeshwari Gayakwad spearheaded the attack with a decently concluded first over that could only bring an edged double and two singles. To bring it stronger, Grace Harris’ second over pocketed only two runs for UP.
It were the last two balls of the fourth over that witnessed the harsh hammer of Hayley to convey two back to back maximums for her team. Matthews seemed to be on a roll with one more boundary in the fifth over’s third ball but the raging partnership finally met an early collapse in the same over as Bhatia got bowled out by Anjali Sarvani at just 7 off 15 balls.
Nat Sciver-Brunt was the first down and her 5-run innings (that included a boundary in the seventh over) was left short-lived as Sophie Ecclestone powered back in the eighth over. Matthews tried to keep the scoreboard moving up from her end with a third six of the match from her bat on the last ball of the tenth over but she too met her dismissal in the next over after a much-valuable knock of 35 off 30 balls.
With the top-order back into the pavilion, the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur took the spear to head the innings and joined the attack with two consecutive boundaries to conclude the twelfth over and one more in the following over. Things seemed to recover for MI but Amelia Kerr’s wicket in the thirteenth over once again doomed the Mumbai side which became too hurtful with Kaur’s dismissal in the very next over.
Issy Wong tried to pull the innings up with two back-to-back fours in the fifteenth over and one in the following over. But the rain of wickets kept incessant as the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth over saw the collapse of three more in succession, Amanjot Kaur (5 off 7), Humaira Kazi (4 off 6) and Dhara Gujjar (3 off 3), respectively.
It was the final over of the innings that saw some fine drama on the board as the over started with a banging six from Wong’s bat followed by a four before getting run out at a blistering knock of 32 off just 19 balls. And the MI innings concluded at 127 for all down as Saika Ishaque got run out at a duck on the last ball of the innings.
To commence the 128-run chase, Devika Vaidya and Alyssa Healy stepped in. After adding just a single for her team, the former had to depart for the pavilion on the first ball of the second over. Kiran Navgire, the first down, took the responsibility to bring the first boundary for the Warriorz on the last ball of the third over. The skipper, Healy, too, took the command for a contemplating boundary in the following over that was celebrated well by Navgire’s first six of the innings.
But Healy could not produce much as she had to walk back into the dugout after meeting her LBW on the first ball of the sixth over. To equalize the pressure, Tahlia McGrath came onto the stage to summarize the powerplay. But Navgire too got succumbed by Brunt in the seventh over at 12 off 16.
After much ado, McGrath turned the tables for Warriorz with a boundary and then a consecutive six in the ninth over to give some push to the run-rate. And there she looked in form as three fantastic fours came around her bat in the eleventh over to put up the scoreboard at 66 for the loss of 3. But the great-going McGrath finally saw her collapse on the last ball of the twelfth over at 38 off just 25.
Grace Harris was fresh in the attack to bring two back-to-back boundaries, first in the thirteenth and then in the thirteenth over. Her third consecutive double-boundaries came in the sixteenth over but she finally had to step down from the wonderfully tackled chase at a blistering knock of 39 off just 28 balls.
With timely singles, doubles and a boundary each by Sophie Ecclestone and Deepti Sharma, UP Warriorz reached closer to their win. And Mumbai Indians witnessed their first defeat in the WPL as Ecclestone finished things up with a front-foot clattering six into the stands on the third ball of the last over of the innings to freeze the scoreboard at 129 for the loss of 5.
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