Women’s Premier League: Harmanpreet stars as Giants fizzle out

MI skipper Harmanpreet Kaur sizzles in WPL opener as Giants

NEW DELHI | Updated: 05 March, 2023 7:34 am IST
Harmanpreet Kaur sizzled with the bat (Photo Courtesy Twitter @wplt20)

All the glitz and glamour off the field could not overshadow the ‘brooding’ demeanour of Harmanpreet Kaur as the Mumbai Indians skipper’s sizzling performance marked a new dawn in women’s cricket in India.

Kaur’s sizzling 30-ball 65 helped the Mumbai Indians record a thumping 143-run win over the hapless Gujarat Giants in the first match of the inaugural Women’s Premier League at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, March 4.

The result took one back to THAT night in 2008, when cricket in India took another big turn with the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League.

It was a déjà vu feeling as MI lost the toss and was asked to bat first by the Gujarat Giants, just like Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) asked Kolkata Knight Riders (RCB) to bat first.

The eerie similarity did not end there as Kaur came out with a performance that mirrored Brendan McCullum’s (73-ball 158) in terms of impact.

Kaur, who made her name with her attacking style of play, looked to bury that disappointing run out in the semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup last month against Australia.

The presence of Beth Mooney, the Australian wicketkeeper, and three other Australians on the Giants’ side perhaps only served as extra motivation for the Indian skipper.

Kaur just swept and slapped the opposition out of the game with a 22-ball half-century that included an incredible seven successive fours.

When she finally departed, in the 17th over, Kaur had already scored 65 off 30 balls, including 14 fours. But the impact that she made was all there to see.

England’s Amelia Karr, who also slammed six fours and a six in her unbeaten 24-ball 45, was also instrumental in MI posting 207 for 5 – a performance no less than KKR’s 222 for three in 2008.

Kaur and Kerr’s impact can be gauged by the fact that in 18 balls – from overs 14 to 16 – they scored 46 runs off Giants bowlers, as Sneh Rana, Monica Patel and Ashleigh Gardner suffered.

West Indies’ Hayley Matthews (47, 31b, 3×4, 4×6), who started the proceedings for MI, England’s Natalie Sciver-Brunt (23, 18b, 5×4) and Pooja Vastrakar (15, 8b, 3×4) all chipped in with useful runs.

Left with a mountain to climb, the Giants panicked after their skipper Mooney retired hurt with just one run on the board.

Sciver-Brunt (2/5) mopped up the top order while Kerr too picked two wickets, but it was Bengal’s Saika Ishaque, who first ran through the middle before adding the finishing touch with four wickets, who stole the show with the ball.

Dayalan Hemlatha left-stranded with 23-ball 29, which included one four and two sixes, as nine Giants batters failed to reach double figures.

No. 11 Monica Patel was the other batter to reach double figures (10, 9b, 2×4) as MI bowled out the Giants for 64, to make it a night to remember.

BRIEF SCORE: MI 207/5 (Harmanpreet Kaur 65, Hayley Matthews 47, Amelia Karr 45*; Sneh Rana 2/43) beat Gujarat Giants 64 (Dayalan Hemlatha 29, Saika Ishaque 4/11, Natalie Sciver-Brunt 2/5, Amelia Karr 2/12) by 143 runs

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