WPL: 'Harmanpreet Hurricane' blows away Gujarat Giants in season opener
Harmanpreet Kaur produced a brilliant innings to help Mumbai Indians start on a winning note in the WPL season opener.
If a time machine was a reality, Mumbai Indians would have been the first ones to get it as they turned back time in the first game of the Women's Premier League against Gujarat Giants in Mumbai.
Harmanpreet Kaur-led side came out all guns blazing to blow away Gujarat Giants by 143 runs, much like how Kolkata Knight Riders had thrashed Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first-ever game of IPL in 2008.
An explosive start from the opener, ending up with a big total and then folding the opponent for a paltry score to register a big win by a similar margin- the perfect recipe for a historic start.
Earlier, on a historic day, Gujarat Giants asked Mumbai Indians to bat after winning the toss without knowing the destruction coming their way.
Yastika Bhatia and Hayley Matthews opened the batting for Mumbai Indians. While Yastika Bhatia was struggling to get the ball to bat, Hayley Matthews started showing her power as she clobbered Mansi Joshi for 10 runs in the second over.
Tanjua Kanwar came to get the wicket of Yastika. The wicket gave Gujarat Giants the upper hand as they controlled the powerplay.
Nat Sciver Burnt broke the shackles in the fifth over and finished the powerplay with 44/1.
In the 8th over, Hayley Matthews scored two monster sixes against Sutherland and then carted Wareham for another one. Wareham removed Nat Sciver Burnt in the 9th over bringing Harmanpreet Kaur to the crease.
Mumbai Indians lost the wicket of Hayley Matthews also who departed after scoring 47 runs in 31 balls.
What followed next was a batting masterclass from Harmanpreet Kaur who demolished Gujarat Giants with her deft placement, smooth cover drives, and piercing sweeps.
Harmanpreet scored 14 fours on the way to her first-ever fifty in the WPL and was scoring at the strike rate of 200. She scored four boundaries off youngster Monica Patel and then carted the Australian all-rounder for a hattrick of fours.
While Harmanpreet was going berserk on one end, Amelia Kerr kept the scoreboard ticking with her power hitting. Both the batters stitched 89 runs partnership in just 42 balls.
Harmanpreet's fine innings was cut short by Sneh Rana while Kerr continued the assault on the other end and she was well supported by cameos of Pooja Vastrakar and Issy Wong.
Harmanpreet Kaur's 65 runs in 30 balls and Amelia Kerr's 45 runs in 24 balls helped Mumbai Indians to set the target of 208 runs.
Chasing such a mammoth total, Gujarat Giants were struck by tragedy on the second ball as skipper Beth Mooney had to go off the ground owing to a possible knee injury.
The incident took the steam off Giant's chase and they started falling like a pack of cards. Nat Sciver Burnt started the proceedings by getting Harleen Deol for a duck.
Issy Wong was next as she made the ball talk and dismissed Ash Gardner with Hayley Matthews taking a brilliant catch in the slips.
Nat Sciver Burnt came back to take the wicket of S Meghana and Gujarat Giants were struggling at 5-3 after 2.3 overs.
After the pacer's destruction, it was time for the young spinner Saika Ishaque to show her class as she knocked Annabel Sutherland over and then trapped Georgia Wareham in front of the wicket.
Minutes later, vice-captain Sneh Rana walked back to the pavilion after losing her wicket to an LBW umpire's call. Kerr caused further damage as she got Tanuja Kanwar caught at the mid-wicket to leave Gujarat Giants at 23/7 after 8 overs.
Dayalan Hemalatha put up some fight with her 29* (23) but she ran out of partners with Mansi Joshi and Monica Patel both falling to the brilliance of Saika Ishaque giving Mumbai Indians a huge win in the season opener.
A good start is always needed to make some thing big and at the moment it looks like WPL just had the best start.