ANI Photo | WPL: Harmanpreet, Saika heroics help all-round MI defeat GG by 143 runs

A superb show by bowlers, with spinner Saika Ishaque leading it from the front with an explosive spell, helped an all-round Mumbai Indians down Gujarat Giants by a whooping 143 runs in the tournament opener of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
In the chase of 208, Gujarat Giants had a horrendous start. They lost their entire top-order before the powerplay. Skipper Beth Mooney retired hurt after seemingly twisting her ankle in the first over without scoring. It was a huge blow to the side as they lost perhaps their best batter during the chase.
England’s Nat-Sciver delivered two opening jolts, dismissing Harleen Deol (0) and Sabbhineni Meghana (2).
ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 Player of the Tournament Ashleigh Gardner was dismissed for a golden duck by Issy Wong while Annabel Sutherland was clean-bowled by Saika Ishaque for 6. GG was reduced to 12/4 in 3.4 overs.
At the end of the powerplay, GG was in terrible shape and desperately needed a huge partnership that exercised caution and also hit big. They were at 17/4, with Georgia Wareham and Dayalan Hemalatha at four runs each.
But GG’s downward spiral continued, with Wareham’s dismissal for eight after Saika dislodged her stumps to get her second wicket. Vice Captain Sneh Rana was trapped leg before wicket by Amelia Kerr.
GG sunk to 23/6 in 7.1 overs and was staring at the possibility of a humiliating loss.
Mumbai bowlers continued to run riot over GG batters, with Kerr getting her second scalp by dismissing Tanuja Kanwar for a duck after being caught by Nat Sciver at cover region. GG was at 23/7 in 7.4 overs.
At the end of 10 overs, GG was 36/7, with Mansi Joshi (1*) and Dayalan (17*) unbeaten.
Mansi’s 19-ball run at the crease ended at six runs. It was Saika who got her third wicket of the match by trapping her lbw. GG was reduced to 49/8 in 12.4 overs.
Saika ended Gujarat’s by dislodging Monica Patel’s stumps for just 10. GG finished their innings at 64/9, with Mooney retired hurt. She led the bowling from the front with a spell of 4/11 in 3.1 overs.
Sciver Brunt and Kerr took two wickets each as well. MI won the match by a massive margin of 143 runs to start off their WPL campaign with a bang.
Earlier, top knocks from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, Hayley Matthews and Amelia Kerr and a quickfire stand between Kaur and Kerr helped Mumbai Indians reach a massive 207/5 in their 20 overs in their campaign opener of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) against Gujarat Giants at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
Put to bat first by Gujarat Giants, Mumbai Indians started well with Hayley Matthews smashing Mansi Joshi for a four and six in the second over.
But Tanuja Kanwar removed wicketkeeper-batter Yastika Bhatia for just one run off eight balls. MI was 15/1 in 2.3 overs.
Following this early wicket, Matthews was joined by England’s star all-rounder Nat-Sciver Brunt and they started to rebuild the innings.
At the end of the powerplay in six overs, MI was 44/1, with Hayley Matthews (22*) and Nat Sciver Brunt (18*) unbeaten at the crease.
Brunt was dealing in boundaries, while Hayley entertained the crowd with some massive sixes. The duo brought up their fifty-run stand quickly. But Australia’s Georgia Wareham put an end to the 54-run stand by dismissing Brunt for 23 off 18 balls, consisting of five fours. MI was 69/2 in 8.5 overs.
Matthews was next to go, as Ashleigh Gardner dismissed her for 47 off 31 balls, with three fours and four sixes. MI was 77/3 halfway through their innings.
The fresh duo of Harmanpreet Kaur and Amelia Kerr continued to entertain the crowd, finding gaps at will. Kaur smashed Wareham for three fours in the 12th over. MI crossed the 100-run mark in the 12th over.
Kerr and Kaur continued to punish the GG bowlers, smashing Monica Patel for 21 runs in the 15th over, including four consecutive fours from Kaur, who looked extremely majestic driving the deliveries all over the park.
At the end of 15 overs, MI was 145/3, with Kaur (47*) and Kerr (24*) unbeaten.
Kaur brought up her half-century and the first-ever WPL fifty in just 22 balls, with 11 fours. MI also crossed the 150-run mark in 15.2 overs.
Sneh Rana brought down her compatriot in the 17th over, dismissing Kaur for 65 off 30 balls, consisting of 14 fours. MI was 166/3 in 17 overs and an 89-run stand between Kerr and the skipper ended in 41 balls.
Pooja Vastrakar was next up on crease and she carried forward the power-hitting unleashed by Matthews, Kaur and Kerr, smashing Gardner for three fours in the 19th over. She was dismissed by Sneh in the final over for 15 off 8 balls.
MI brought up their 200 runs in 19.3 overs and finished their innings at 207/5, with Kerr (45*) and Issy Wong (6*) unbeaten, with the latter finishing the innings with a six.
Sneh was the pick of the bowlers for her side with two scalps. Gardner, Tanuja, Wareham and took one wicket each for Gujarat Giants.
Brief Scores: MI: 207/5 (Harmanpreet Kaur 65, Hayley Matthews 47, Sneh Rana 2/43) defeat Gujarat Giants: 64/9 in 15.1 overs (Dayalan Hemalatha 29*, Georgia Wareham 8, Saika Ishaque 4/11). (ANI)

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