Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai Indians became the first team to qualify for the playoffs of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League after registering their fifth successive victory against the Gujarat Giants. The Mumbai-based franchise has not lost a single game in the tournament so far and are looking like the favourites to lift the title later this month.
However, the table-toppers won’t be taking anything for granted when they come face to face against the UP Warriorz at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday, March 18. Harmanpreet Kaur’s team had beaten their upcoming opponents comprehensively by eight wickets in the reverse fixture earlier this week.
Here’s Mumbai Indians predicted XI for the 15th match against UP Warriorz :
Openers – Yastika Bhatia (wk), Hayley Matthews
Indian wicketkeeper-batter Yastika Bhatia breached the 40-run mark for a third game running to provide a solid start to the Mumbai Indians despite losing her opening partner in the first over of the match. The 22-year-old has been one of the most improved players in the tournament and has also climbed up in the top half of the run-scoring charts.
While Yastika is enjoying a purple patch with the bat, her opening partner Hayley Matthews is going through an uncharacteristically prolonged lean run with the bat. However, she is the second leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far, and had another memorable outing with the ball against the Gujarat Giants, returning with 3/23 in her four overs.
Middle order – Nat Sciver-Brunt, Harmanpreet Kaur (c)
Nat Sciver-Brunt’s irrefutable all-round capabilities was the reason she was roped in by the Mumbai-based franchise and the English cricketer is living up to the expectations in the inaugural edition of the WPL. She chipped in with a solid knock with the bat to steady the ship for her side and then returned with 3/21 in her four overs to turn the tide in Mumbai Indians’ favour.
Mumbai Indians were heading for an underwhelming finish after losing a couple of quick wickets in the latter stages of the match, only for captain fantastic, Harmanpreet Kaur, to rescue the innings with an explosive half-century. The Indian skipper has been in inspired form with the bat in the WPL so far and looks determined to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
All-rounders – Amelia Kerr, Amanjot Kaur, Dhara Gujjar
New Zealand all-rounder Amelia Kerr made another important contribution for her side with both the bat and ball in the game against the Gujarat Giants. She scored a brisk 19 off 13 deliveries in a crucial 51-run stand with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and then went on to scalp two wickets with the ball to cap off another brilliant outing.
Young Indian all-rounder Amanjot Kaur finally got a chance to show her credentials with the bat, only to be dismissed for a first-ball duck against the Gujarat Giants. However, she couldn’t be blamed as it was the penultimate delivery of the Mumbai Indians innings, and she had no other choice than to play her shots. Dhara Gujjar also faced just a solitary delivery in the match and managed a single off that delivery.
Bowlers – Issy Wong, Humaira Kazi, Saika Ishaque, Jintimani Kalita
20-year-old English pacer Issy Wong did not have the desired effect with the bat when she was promoted in the batting order as she holed out without scoring on her very first delivery. However, the fast bowler from Middlesex scalped the important wicket of Harleen Deol to hand the advantage to her side in the second innings.
It was uncharted waters for Mumbai Indians’ Saika Ishaque, who went wicketless in a WPL match for the first time against the Gujarat Giants. The leading wicket-taker of the tournament bowled four overs in the match, conceding just 20 runs, but failed to dislodge a single batter.
Humaira Kazi was run out at the fag end of the Mumbai Indians innings after facing just two deliveries, while Jintimani Kalita managed to sneak in a couple of runs on the only delivery she faced in the match and remained unbeaten at the crease.
Mumbai Indians Women (MI-W):
Hayley Matthews, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Amanjot Kaur, Dhara Gujjar, Humaira Kazi, Issy Wong, Jintimani Kalita, Saika Ishaque
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