April 15, 2023

Recent Match Report – DC Women vs MI Women Final 2022/23

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Mumbai Indians 134 for 3 (Sciver-Brunt 60*, Harmanpreet 37) beat Delhi Capitals 131 for 9 (Lanning 35, Radha 27*, Pandey 27*, Matthews 3-5, Wong 3-42, Kerr 2-18) by seven wickets

Mumbai Indians are the inaugural WPL champions.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s team has upstaged Meg Lanning’s, finally. What looked like a one-sided fare turned out to be quite the nail-biter, as the WPL final got in a last-over finish few would have thought possible at one stage.

Delhi Capitals were on life support at 79 for 9. If this had been a wrestling bout, this is the point at which it would have been called off. But sensational efforts with the bat from Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav helped them post a total of 131. From there, their bowlers took it down to Mumbai needing 21 from the last two overs.

Having held on for so long, Capitals crumbled at this most crucial moment as Nat Sciver-Brunt exhibited a fine combination of calm and cheek. After steadying the innings with a 52-ball half-century, she swept the first ball of the 19th over from Jess Jonassen to the boundary. It had a deflating effect on the Capitals players.

Amelia Kerr managed to pick off two more fours in that over to take them to the doorstep. Sciver-Brunt then fittingly finished the game off when she paddled Alice Capsey past short fine. She remained unbeaten on 60 as Mumbai bossed their way to the title.

Wong’s three wickets off full tosses

Shafali Verma, Alice Capsey, Jemimah Rodrigues.

Issy Wong will remember these three names for a long time. Because she managed to prise them all out with full tosses to leave Capitals reeling at 35 for 3 in the fifth over.

Shafali’s wicket, in particular, brought with it plenty of drama, with the umpires checking for a no-ball. It was a tight call as Verma spooned a full toss that was close to waist-high for a catch at backward point. Multiple replays later, Shafali was ruled out prompting an animated exchange between Lanning, the non-striker, and the officials.

Two balls later, Capsey bunted a full toss to short cover for a two-ball duck to end an impressive sequence of scores – 34, 38*, 22 and 38 – since her promotion to No. 3.

In Wong’s next over, Rodrigues, who began with two scintillating cover drives, was out slicing a juicy full toss to backward point.

The Lanning run-out twist

Lanning continued to counter-punch, quickly putting on 38 with Marizanne Kapp before Capitals lost both of them in the space of eight deliveries.

Kapp was caught behind off a sharp Kerr legbreak and Lanning was sold a dummy by her colleague Jonassen when the two batters failed to communicate properly as they tried to nick a sharp single to short cover. This marked the start of a sensational collapse as Capitals went from 73 for 3 to 79 for 9.

Hayley Matthews, who found no bidders in the first round of the WPL auction, came into her own with a sharp display of offspin bowling, finishing with figures of 3 for 5 off her four overs.

The icing on the cake was was her third strike, when she drew Taniya Bhatia forward and beat her in the air and off the pitch to bowl her on the inside edge. That wicket also made her the most successful bowler in the competition with 16 strikes.

Pandey and Radha’s last stand

Batting for only the second time in the competition, Pandey decided she wasn’t going to throw in the towel. In Radha, she found an ally as the two put on an unlikely – and quite unreal – unbroken 52 off 24 balls for the last wicket.

Pandey triggered the change of fortunes in the penultimate over when she walloped Wong inside-out for six over cover and followed that with a superb pull to the square-leg boundary.

Radha then ensured a proper pendulum swing by muscling Sciver-Brunt for two big sixes to end the innings. Pandey finished 27 not out off 17 balls, while Radha had 27 off just 12.

The Capitals suddenly had hope.

Mumbai rocked early

Wickets off full tosses continued to make an appearance when Yastika Bhatia heaved Radha to deep midwicket to give Capitals an early wicket. Between overs 2.3 and 7.2, Capitals kept the pressure up, not allowing Mumbai to score a single boundary. The big bonus in between was the wicket of Matthews, who was caught brilliantly by Arundhati Reddy at short midwicket off Jonassen to leave Mumbai at 23 for 2.

Harmanpreet and Sciver-Brunt calm the nerves

Capitals were sharpening their axe. Lanning’s tactful field placements had choked the run-flow. Harmanpreet was struggling on 2 off 9. Sciver-Brunt was on 7 off 18.

Sciver-Brunt broke the deadlock with a neat inside-out lift over extra cover in the eighth over, bowled by Radha, and from thereon, Mumbai found boundaries with regularity.

As she found her touch, Harmanpreet brought out her powerful sweeps and pulls to make up for her slow start. Sciver-Brunt was more clinical and artisan-like, using the pace of the ball to score on both sides of the wicket in the V right behind her.

Without playing a shot in anger, the pair raised a 72-run stand to put Mumbai on the road to victory. Then came another twist, Harmanpreet’s run-out with 37 needed off 23.

But Kerr proved why she’s one of the great allrounders in the game. She hit Jonassen for two boundaries in a 19th over that went for 16 runs. And with that, the pendulum had truly swung Mumbai’s way.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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