Navi Mumbai: Kim Garth’s splendid five-wicket haul went in vain as UP Warriorz held their nerves to pull off a dramatic three-wicket win over Gujarat Giants in a thrilling last-over finish in the Women’s Premier League, here on Sunday.
Australian Grace Harris remained calm under pressure to slam a 26-ball 59 not out to seal the thrilling chase off the penultimate delivery. She found a formidable ally in Sophie Ecclestone as the duo turned it around with an unbroken 70-run stand that came off just 25 balls.
Twenty-four hours after they crashed to 64 all out in the WPL opener, Gujarat Giants showed their unflappable spirit and revived their hopes as Garth reduced UP to 20/3 inside three overs.
The Irish-Australian recruit, Garth, who replaced star Windies all-rounder Deandra Dottin, blew away the UP top-order en route her 5/36, the second fifer in the WPL — both coming on the same day.
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Shortly after a little known Tara Norris of an Associate Nation (USA) picked WPL’s first fifer, it was time for the another nondescript cricketer to set the WPL on fire with wickets of Alyssa Healy (7), Shweta Sherawat (5) and Tahila McGrath (0) in one over.
After a sedate first over in which Healy smashed a half-volley for a boundary, Garth bounced back to take a stunning catch off her own bowling on her second attempt to dismiss the star Australian.
Garth got her second scalp dismissing Sehrawat courtesy a top-notch catch by Mansi Joshi. She followed it up accounting for McGrath for a golden duck that reduced UP to 20/3 inside the third over.
Promoted to No 3, the burly hard-hitting Kiran Navgire then revived UP’s hopes with a aggressive fifty.
They lost half of their side after Navgire departed after a fighting 43-ball 53 (5×4, 2×6) with Garth taking her fourth scalp of the day.
Number six batter Harris then took charge of the proceedings but wickets kept falling with Garth racing to her fifer after cleaning up Simran Shaikh.
Having reduced UP to 105/7 in 15.4 overs, Gujarat Giants were staring at an easy win but Sophie and Harris had other ideas.
Needing 65 from the last four overs, UP broke free when Harris danced down the track to smash Tanuja Kanwar for a six over midwicket.
Garth ended up leaking 20 in her last over with Harris and Ecclestone smashing four boundaries, to take the equation down to 33 off 12 balls.
Ecclestone smashed Gardner for a six in a 14-run penultimate over.
Seamer Annabel Sutherland then was given the task to defend 19 in the last over and Harris pulled her for a six off the first ball. Ten needed off four balls, Harris remained calm and hit her for a boundary and called a review for wide that was given in UP’s favour. She then sealed the win a boundary and a six.
Returning to the same venue a day after they endured a 143-run defeat against Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Giants rode on Sneh Rana’s counter-attacking 46 off 32 balls to put up a par 169 for six.
The world’s No.1-ranked T20I bowler Sophie returned with 2/25, while Deepti also bagged two (2/27) as the spin duo operated cleverly in the middle overs to stymie Gujarat’s progress.
Returning to the same venue a day after they folded up for 64 to endure a 143-run defeat against Mumbai Indians in the WPL opener, Gujarat Giants got off to an explosive start after opting to bat.
Sabbhineni Meghana (24; 15b) and Sophia Dunkley (13; 11b) countered Anjali Sarvani’s pace attack with aplomb. Meghana teed off with back-to-back boundaries before Dunkley got it going with as many fours.
The Giants were cruising at 10 per over after three overs when Deepti gave the crucial breakthrough when she yorked the English batter in her first over.
At the other end, Sophie Ecclestone also got into the act, dismissing Meghana off her third delivery.
Ecclestone got her second wicket when she dismissed Annabel Sutherland (8) cheaply, while Tahlia McGrath made it 76/4 around the halfway mark after she had wicketkeeper-batter Sushma Verma (9).
But Harleen revived their innings in the company of world’s top-ranked all-rounder Ashleigh Garnder (25) as the duo made rapid progress in the middle overs.
Ashleigh was looking ominous when she hit Deepti for a boundary in the 16th over but the Indian off-spinner foxed her with a tossed up delivery to stump the batter.
But Harleen ensured that they kept the momentum when she hit Devika Vaidya for three boundaries in a row but missed a fifty by four runs after being dismissed by Anjali Sarvani.