Navi Mumbai: UP Warriorz snapped formidable Mumbai Indians’ winning run in the Women’s Premier League with a five-wicket victory, after the Uttar Pradesh side extracted more out of a tricky pitch here on Saturday. On a surface where the ball turned a lot and was also holding up, England’s star left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone (3/15) led the way with her excellent bowling as UP Warriorz bundled out Mumbai Indians for 127.
When MI batted, as many as 18 of the 20 overs were bowled by spinners, a WPL record.
In reply, UPW faced some obstacles before competing the task with three balls to spare. Grace Harris (39) and Tahlia McGrath (38) were the main contributors with the bat for UPW, while Deepti Sharma (13 not out) and player of the match Ecclestone (16 not out) also played vital knocks.
UPW lost Devika Vaidya with just one run on the board at the start of the second over. While the successful bowler was Hayley Matthews, most of the credit for the dismissal must got to Harmanpreet Kaur, who pulled off a sensational catch at first slip after the batter got a thick outside edge. Issy Wong picked up the big wicket of UPW captain Alyssa Healy (8), trapping her in front of the wicket. The on-field umpire was not convinced despite the huge appeal and MI’s move to go for a referral proved to be the right call, leaving the Australian star with no option but to walk back into the dugout.
Defending a small but tricky total on this surface, MI found another reason to celebrate when Yastika Bhatia completed a fantastic one-handed diving catch behind the wicket off the bowling of Nat Sciver-Brunt to send back Kiran Navgire for 12, for which she consumed 16 balls. UPW were in a spot of bother at 27 for 3 in the beginning of seventh over, when Grace Harris got off the mark with a boundary. Even as MI picked up three wickets quickly but they were also guilty of dropping three catches, which proved to be crucial in the end. In the company of Harris, Tahlia McGrath stroked her way to a 25-ball 38 before Amelia Kerr had her caught and bowled. But Harris hit two successive fours on three occasions, after McGrath’s dismissal, to reduce the gap. There was another twist after Kerr dismissed Harris at a crucial juncture, but UPW held their nerves to emerge winners.
Earlier, had it not been for Issy Wong’s 19-ball 32, MI would have ended with much less than what they eventually got.
After their skipper Alyssa Healy opted to field first, the UP Warriorz bowlers did a commendable job to keep things tight and take wickets at regular intervals against the strong Mumbai batting line-up. MI were 56 for two at the end of the 10th over with Hayley Matthews (35) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (25) looking to build a partnership after the departure of Yastika Bhatia (5) and Nat Sciver-Brunt (7). However, both Hayley and Kaur got out after getting starts, the India captain falling to compatriot Deepti Sharma after the former was done in by the seasoned Ecclestone.
Amelia Kerr (3) lasted just five balls before being sent back by Rajeshwari Gayakwad, as the Warriorz reduced Mumbai Indians to 78 for five at the start of the 14th over. Amanjot Kaur, too, failed to make an impression with the bat as she also fell to the wily Ecclestone, who had by then picked up three wickets in as many over at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy.
While Ecclestone did bulk of the damage, the others supported her well and made MI work hard for every run. India player Gayakwad also had a good outing, returning with fine figures of two for 16 from her full quota of four overs. Deepti finished with figures of 2/34.
While MI fielded the same XI in the match, UP decided to include young Parshavi Chopra in place of Shweta Sehrawat.