Recent Match Report – DC Women vs MI Women 1st Match 2023/24

Mumbai Indians 173 for 6 (Bhatia 57, Harmanpreet 55, Capsey 2-23, Reddy 2-27) beat Delhi Capitals 171 for 5 (Capsey 75, Rodrigues 42, Sciver-Brunt 2-33) by four wickets

The opening evening of the second season of the Women’s Premier League ended like it started – in a blockbuster fashion.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians romped home in a last-ball thriller to kickstart their title defence in Bengaluru with a four-wicket win. A movie-like ending – after the game swung one way and then the other – was only apt after the opening ceremony was filled with the glitz, thanks to the who’s-who of Bollywood.

Chasing an unlikely 172, Mumbai needed 22 off the last two overs with captain Harmanpreet Kaur set. She hit a six on the last ball of the penultimate over to bring the equation down to 12 off 6. Capitals turned to the part-time off-spin of Alice Capsey with the longer boundary on the leg side. The move almost worked after she dismissed Pooja Vastrakar and Harmanpreet in the first five balls.

But with five needed off the last ball, Kerala allrounder S Sajana, playing her first WPL match, walloped Capsey over long-on to ring off celebrations at a near-packed M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Only hours ago, Capsey had starred with a 53-ball 75 with the bat – aided by a dropped catch by Sajana – to help Capitals post a tall total.

Bhatia powers chase

Mumbai lost Hayley Matthews on the second ball of the chase, when she went for an off drive and edged one behind off Marizanne Kapp. Yastika Bhatia got off the mark with a delightful drive past wide mid-off for four. She then hit Annabel Sutherland for two fours before meting out a special treatment to Shikha Pandey in the last over of the powerplay.

Bhatia lofted her over mid-off first before getting a thick outside edge past the wicketkeeper. She then picked up a shortish delivery over deep midwicket as Mumbai finished the powerplay on 50 for 1.

Arundhati Reddy struck on her first ball, yorking Nat Sciver-Brunt with an inswinging slower one, but there was nothing stopping Bhatia. She brought up her fifty off 35 balls and looked set to bat through the chase. But she found Kapp at deep midwicket, when she heaved another Reddy slower one across the line.

Harmanpreet gives opening match deja vu

Harmanpreet got off the mark with a crisp cover drive on her first ball. She constantly rotated the strike and found the boundaries regularly even after Bhatia holed out. The pace of Sutherland and Kapp, as the chase got closer, only helped her. She smoked a massive six over long-on to bring up a 32-ball fifty. It seemed like we’d seen it before – she had struck a half-century in a successful chase in the opening game of WPL 2023, too.

But the chase seemed to lose steam once she was dismissed, before Sajana did the unthinkable.

Ismail breathes fire

When Mumbai brought in Shabnim Ismail at the auction, there were talks that she could be a back up for Issy Wong. But she not only started WPL 2024 ahead of Wong but also bowled an opening spell that would have quelled notion of Ismail being a ‘back up’. She started with a one-run first over which was backed up by left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque from the other end.

Ismail then struck on the first ball of her second over – a 118kph delivery castling Shafali Verma, who cleared her front leg and looked to mow it across the line. Capitals scored only 26 for 1 in the powerplay, with Ismail’s figures reading 3-0-10-1. She then returned at the death, where a dropped catch denied her the wicket of a set Capsey.

C for Capitals, C for Capsey

Meg Lanning and Capsey had rebuilt in a steady manner before the shackles were broken in the first over after the powerplay. Capsey danced down to loft Amelia Kerr over extra cover before Lanning did the same to hit her over mid-on. Another legspinner, debutant SB Keerthana, was taken for 13 in her only over. When Lanning and Capsey hit a six and a four in Kerr’s next, Capitals had managed to score 37 in the three overs after the field restrictions were lifted. One over after the timeout though, Sciver-Brunt managed to get the better of Lanning.

Cue for Capsey’s gear change. She hit two sixes and a four off Matthews to bring up a half-century off just 36 balls. Along with Jemimah Rodrigues, who amalgamated her deft touch with aggression, Capitals managed to find boundaries regularly heading into the death overs. Capsey and Rodrigues added 74 off just 40 balls before the former fell. She missed a reverse sweep off Kerr an over after she was dropped for 72.

Rodrigues also showed her wares by regularly peppering the on side boundary. She deposited an Ismail slower one over long-on before clubbing a slower bouncer from Sciver-Brunt over deep midwicket. It was the first time since August 2019 that Rodrigues had hit more than one six in a T20 innings (where ball-by-ball records are available on ESPNcricinfo).

A final flourish from Kapp, who hit three fours in the last over, helped Capitals finish on 171. But that was not enough for Mumbai, who maintained a clean slate of run-chases in the WPL.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

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