WPL 2023: Grace Harris has done it for UP Warriorz
UP Warriorz beat Gujarat Giants in their opening match of the TATA WPL at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.
Grace Harris smashed a brilliant 26-ball 59* to pull off a sensational three-wicket win for the Warriorz. Kiran Navgire too played an important support act with a composed 43-ball 53.
Chasing 170, the UP Warriorz stuttered to 35/3 in the Powerplay. GG pacer Kim Garth put on a masterclass in swing bowling. She provided GG a perfect start as she had the dangerous Alyssa Healy caught and bowled, Shweta Sehrawat caught at short third man and then Tahlia McGrath caught at slip, all in the third over.
Kiran Navgire then provided some impetus to the UPW innings and also provided stability along with Deepti Sharma. Navgire mixed caution with aggression well and brought her fifty off 40 balls.
Mansi Joshi finally broke the 68-run partnership as she cleaned up Sharma with an inswinger. Garth then provided a crucial moment in the match when she had Navgire caught behind off a short ball and then cleaned up Simran Shaikh off the very next ball to register the second five-wicket haul of the WPL.
Just when it looked like the Giants were the favourites, Harris turned things around and smashed 6, 4, 4, 4 to breathe life back into the chase. Ecclestone too chipped in with a four and a six as UPW hit 44 runs from three overs (17 to 19). The equation came down to 19 off six balls. Sutherland bowled the last over and Harris smacked the first ball for a six over deep mid-wicket. Sutherland bowled one wide outside off next ball which was called a WIDE. GG reviewed but the decision was upheld.
Harris then flicked one to the leg side for a couple and lofted the next one straight down the ground for a four. Sutherland then bowled one wide outside off again and it was declared a wide after a successful review by the UPW. With five needed off three, Harris finished it off in style as she lofted one over cover for a four to bring up her fifty off just 25 balls and then smashed the next one over deep square leg for a six to win it for UPW and spark wild celebrations.
Earlier, Gujarat Giants captain Sneh Rana won the toss and elected to bat. Sneh Rana led the side in absence of Beth Mooney who was ruled out due to a leg injury she suffered in the last match. GG made three changes to the side as Sushma Verma, Kim Grath and Sophia Dunkley were named in the side.
Dunkley and Meghana set the pace early as the duo hit a couple of fours each off Anjali Sarvani and garnered 17 runs in the second over. Meghana then combined timing and placement to hit a couple of fours off Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the next over.
Just when it was looking ominous, the ever-so dependable Deepti Sharma struck in her first over as she cleaned up Dunkley for 13. And one brought two as the No 1 T20 bowler in the world Sophie Ecclestone sent back Meghana in her first over, caught at short third man. The last three overs of the powerplay brought just 15 runs as GG moved to 45/2 in the first six overs.
Sharma and Ecclestone built the pressure and it brought rewards as Annabel Sutherland went for a big one but ended up mistiming it to long on.
Sushma Verma and Harleen Deol then tried to steady the ship with a 26-run stand but Tahlia McGrath struck in the 11th over to send back Verma for 9.
Asleigh Gardner then tried to breathe some momentum into the innings with a 18-ball 25 knock but it was the partnership-breaker Deepti Sharma again who came back to have Gardner stumped.
Harleen Deol, who had held fort at one end, then pressed the accelerator button as she hit four 4s off Devika Vaidya in the 17th over. She however fell short of her fifty (46 off 32) as she holed out trying to clear the mid-wicket fence, off Anjali Sarvani.
Dayalan Hemalatha then provided a late surge with 13-ball 21 to propel GG to a competitive 169/6.