Recent Match Report – MI Women vs UPW Women 14th Match 2023/24

Mumbai Indians 160 for 6 (Sciver-Brunt 45, Kerr 39, Harmanpreet 33, Athapaththu 2-27) beat UP Warriorz 118 for 9 (Deepti 53*, Ishaque 3-27, Sciver-Brunt 2-14) by 42 runs

Mumbai Indians found their winning formula after hitting the Delhi leg of the WPL, thumping UP Warriorz by 42 runs in their return fixture on Thursday. They posted 160 for 6 on the back of handy knocks from Nat Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr and Harmanpreet Kaur, who then marshalled her troops well to shut out Warriorz with Saika Ishaque and Sciver-Brunt playing leading roles.

Mumbai Indians struck thrice in the first 25 balls of the Warriorz chase, and they never quite recovered. Deepti Sharma, batting at No. 5, finished unbeaten on 53 off 36 balls, but the task was too much for her after the top order had faltered, Alyssa Healy, Kiran Navgire and Chamari Athapaththu aggregating 13 runs between them.

With their fourth win, Mumbai Indians went to second on the points table, with only net run-rate separating them from Delhi Capitals, the table-toppers at this stage.

Sciver-Brunt and Harmanpreet take charge

Athapaththu had Mumbai Indians questioning their decision to bat first. She struck twice in her first two overs to dismiss the openers, Hayley Matthews and Yastika Bhatia. Which brought the first key partnership for Mumbai Indians when Sciver-Brunt and Harmanpreet got together. Sciver-Brunt used the depth of the crease against the spin of Athapaththu, Grace Harris and Rajeshwari Gayakwad to help them end the powerplay on 37 for 2.

Even after the field spread, she managed to find boundaries with regularity even as Harmanpreet was struggling for some fluency. Harmanpreet broke the shackles only when Saima Thakor, Warriorz’s only fast bowler, came into the attack. Harmanpreet reached out to a wide delivery from her to crack the ball through point before sweeping a full toss off Sophie Ecclestone through backward square-leg.

Together Sciver-Brunt and Harmanpreet added 59 off 46 for the third wicket. Importantly, they hit a four on the first or second ball in five of the seven full overs they faced.

Kerr and Sajana add the finishing touches

Sciver-Brunt was done in by an arm ball from Gayakwad that skidded through, while Harmanpreet missed her heave across the line off Thakor. In a matter of 26 balls, Mumbai lost three heading into the death overs. In Kerr and S Sajana, though, they had the batters to finish the innings.

Kerr has been in solid touch with the bat and is Mumbai’s leading run-getter this season. She maneuvered the ball well to pick boundaries – going deep in her crease to cut length balls, moving across to access the area behind square on the leg – and kept Mumbai Indians ticking along. But she should have been caught at cover when she was on 34 off 19, but Ecclestone couldn’t hang on.

Sajana, who began her WPL career with a first-ball six in the opening game, slogged one through deep backward square leg for four before a misfield at long-on gave her another four. She hit back-to-back fours off Ecclestone in the last over too, as Mumbai Indians scored 38 off the last four overs, their partnership worth 43 off just 26.

Warriorz no match for Mumbai Indians’ attack

What looked like a fighting total proved to be a winning one. Harmanpreet dangled the carrot to Kiran Navgire by having left-arm spinner Ishaque partner Shabnim Ismail with the new ball. Navgire going over cow corner was just what Mumbai had hoped for, and she missed whipping a yorker from Ishaque on the next ball to fall in the second over. Matthews then got one to stop on Athapaththu, who miscued to cover.

Which is when Ismail, who bowled the fastest recorded ball in women’s cricket in the previous outing, delivered perhaps the ball of the tournament. It nipped back in sharply from a length at 124kph to cut Healy in half and hit the stumps. Harmanpreet operated with Ismail and Matthews for six straight overs, in which Warriorz could manage only 18 for 2.

Harris, who was off the mark on her 15th ball with a six, then fell to Ishaque in the tenth over. In a sequence that resembled Navgire’s, Harris hit Ishaque for a six over long-on before being bowled when she missed the next. Harris and Deepti’s partnership of 31 balls – though worth just 26 – was Warriorz’s longest, with the 26-ball eighth-wicket alliance for 37 between Deepti and Uma Chetry the second-longest.

Ishaque picked up three wickets on the night after starting off WPL 2024 with three wicketless outings.

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

Leave a Comment