Mumbai Indians had lost a total of 10 wickets across their first four matches of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). Against Gujarat Giants on Tuesday, their lower order faced a proper test for the first time and MI ended up losing eight wickets. Yet, they found a way to get their fifth straight win to remain the only unbeaten side in the tournament.
MI scored 162/8 and restricted GG to 107/9, winning by 55 runs. GG, after four losses in five games, are second from bottom in the five-team league.
It was a repeat of the tournament opener, where MI had registered a thumping 143-run victory. Harmanpeet Kaur had hit a match-winning 30-ball 65 that night, and again it was the MI skipper who proved to be the game-changer with a 30-ball 51.
Gujarat opted to bowl at the Brabourne Stadium and got rid of Hayley Matthews in the first over. Star all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner had given GG a dream start, but MI fought back with two crucial partnerships.
The first was between Yastika Bhatia and Natalie Sciver-Brunt, who together added 74 runs for the second wicket. Bhatia registered her third consecutive 40-plus score on the back of some elegant strokeplay. Sciver-Brunt got to 36 but was trapped in front by Kim Garth just as it seemed she would cut loose.
At 84/3 after 12.1 overs, Mumbai had a lot left to do. Gujarat would’ve fancied their chances at that point but Harmanpreet and Amelia Kerr put on a 51-run stand as MI fought back.
Kerr was aggressive from the start and seemed keen to counterattack, but it was Harmanpreet who stole the show. The India skipper smashed seven fours and two sixes to register her third half-century in four innings.
Gardner claimed 3/34 with Harleen Deol delivering a special fielding performance. The 24-year-old produced a direct hit from the boundary to dismiss Humaira Kazi and took a stunning catch on the run to end Harmanpreet’s onslaught.
At the start of the game, GG would’ve probably accepted a target of 163 runs. But precious little went their way with the bat as MI remained relentless with the ball.
Gujarat needed Sophia Dunkley to fire at the top of the order but she was trapped leg before first ball by Sciver-Brunt. The in-form Deol was expected to provide stability but she couldn’t capitalise on a start. And Australia’s Annabel Sutherland and Gardner were dismissed for 0 and 8 respectively.
It ended up being another batting collapse for Gujarat Giants, and another resounding victory for the uber-impressive Mumbai Indians.