WPL: Mumbai Indians become the first team to qualify for playoffs
Mumbai Indians became the first team to qualify for WPL playoffs after defeating Gujarat Giants by 55 runs.
Mumbai Indians' juggernaut continued as they became the first team to qualify for playoffs of the Women's Premier League after crushing Gujarat Giants by 55 runs.
After making a thumping start to the inaugural WPL against Gujarat Giants with a massive 143-run win at the DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai Indians once again got the better of their opponents with a comprehensive all-round show at the Brabourne Stadium.
Gujarat Giants, who stuttered to a fourth loss in five matches and remained on the penultimate spot in the five-team points table, made 107/9 in 20 overs chasing 163 on a pitch that had something for all parties.
In their previous meeting, Gujarat was bundled out for 64 in 15.1 overs in a chase of 208. Hayley Matthews made up for her failure with the bat to return with 4-0-24-3 while leg-spinner Amelia Kerr bagged 2/18 to fuel Mumbai's yet another impressive win in front of a partisan crowd.
Also producing an all-round show for Mumbai was Nat Sciver-Brunt, who returned 4-0-21-3 after scoring a vital 36 off 31 balls studded with five fours and a six.
While each of Mumbai's overseas bowlers was among wickets, India's uncapped Saika Ishaque remained wicketless in her 4-0-20-0.
Mumbai Indians looked steady but were not sure of a strong total at the halfway mark in their innings after being asked to bat first, having scored 64 for one in 10 overs.
However, captain Harmanpreet Kaur smashed a 30-ball 51 laced with seven fours and two sixes, her blitz powering Mumbai Indians to a challenging 162/8. Yastika Bhatia (44) and Sciver-Brunt did well to consolidate, adding 74 for the second wicket.
After a sedate first half, Mumbai Indians went the aggressive route to add 98 runs in the last 10 overs. In the second half, Mumbai Indians made a terrific start with Sciver-Brunt striking on the first ball, trapping the in-form Sophie Dunkley, who had struck 65 in her last outing at this venue.
Sabbhineni Meghana showed initial promise with some cracking boundaries but perished for 16 off Hayley Matthews in the sixth over after a brief 21-run stand with Harleen Deol.
Matthews struck again three balls later, removing Annabel Sutherland for a four-ball duck to leave Gujarat tottering at 34/3 at the end of the powerplay.
With that, Matthews (9) moved up to the second spot in the list of bowlers with the most wickets, surpassing Delhi Capitals' Shikha Pandey (8) and Sophie Ecclestone (8) of the UP Warriorz.
Gujarat Giants not only struggled to get off the blocks but also lost wickets in heaps. After Isabelle Wong trapped Harleen Deol (22) leg-before before the first strategic break, Ashleigh Gardner (8) was dismissed right after resumption by Kerr, who also accounted for Dayalan Hemlatha (6).
Among the bright spots for Gujarat Giants was captain Sneh Rana's spell of 4-0-17-1 and a 19-ball 20 which helped stem the fall of wickets for a short while.
Kaur lost her fourth toss on the trot in WPL as Gujarat Giants captain Sneh Rana elected to bowl while making two changes. Laura Wolvaardt and Georgia Wareham made way for Dunkley and Sutherland, whereas Mumbai Indians remained unchanged.