Kaur, Bhatia fifties help MI beat DC in final-ball thriller in WPL opener


PTI, Feb 24, 2024, 8:32 AM IST

Credit: PTI photo

Bengaluru: Forceful fifties by Harmanpreet Kaur and Yastika Bhatia helped defending champions Mumbai Indians ace a thrilling final-ball chase to beat Delhi Capitals by four wickets in the Women’s Premier League (WPL 2024) opener here on Friday.

Skipper Harmanpreet made 55 (34b, 7×4, 1×6) as Mumbai scaled down 172 off the last ball and she was helped a great deal by Yastika, who made 57 off 45 balls (8×4, 2×6).

The 19-year-old Alice Capsey’s power-packed 75 (53b, 8×4, 3×6) was a perfect vindication of her future star as she guided Delhi Capitals to 171 for five, setting a tall barrier in front of Mumbai.

But the Mumbai outfit stayed in the match through fine efforts by Yastika and captain Harmanpreet Kaur. Despite their concerted efforts, Mumbai still needed 12 runs off the last over bowled by off-spinner Capsey, who was later adjudged player of the match.

Capsey ousted Harmanpreet and Pooja Vastrakar in the first and fifth balls of the 20th over as Mumbai were left to make five runs off the last ball.

But Sajana Sajeevan slammed the only ball she faced over the long-on fence to spark wild celebrations in the Mumbai camp.

But Mumbai began their target hunting on a disastrous note, losing Hayley Matthews in the second ball of the first over itself — a loose drive outside off-stump off pacer Marizanne Kapp ended in the hands of stumper Taniya Bhatia.

But Mumbai kept moving forward through two successive fifty stands involving Yastika, whose harsh treatment of veteran pacer Shikha Pandey (4, 4, 6) made for grand viewing.

The aggressive left-hander first added an even fifty (35 balls) for the second wicket with Nat Sciver-Brunt (19) and followed it up with a 56-run alliance with Harmanpreet in 7.1 overs for the third wicket.

Yastika reached her fifty in 35 balls with a six over long-on off left-arm spinner Radha Yadav but she did not last long as a pull off pacer Arundhati Reddy was snaffled by Kapp at deep mid-wicket.

However, Harmanpreet, who was dropped on five by Minnu Mani at mid-wicket off Arundhati, added 44 runs for the fourth wicket in 28 balls as Mumbai stayed afloat.

Earlier, Capsey joined her skipper Meg Lanning (31, 25b, 3×4, 1×6) after opener Shafali Verma was castled early by veteran pacer Shabnim Ismail.

Capsey and Lanning mustered 64 runs in just over eight overs after making a steady start. Delhi were 26 for 1 after the six Power Play overs.

But Capsey started the blitz, bunting experienced English pacer Nat Sciver-Brunt for two successive pulled fours through mid-wicket.

Lanning hammered the first six of the match and tournament when she lofted leg-spinner S Keerthana over long-on. But Brunt broke the burgeoning alliance when she ousted Lanning.

But Capsey remained relentless in the company of her vice-captain Jemimah Rodrigues (42, 24, 5×4, 2×6), and together they added 73 runs for an entertaining third wicket partnership in 7.3 overs.

She was particularly ruthless against leg-spinner and countrymate Amelia Kerr, whom she slammed for a couple of fours.

However, Kerr had the last laugh when she trapped Capsey leg before but the Capitals were already in a position of strength. However, it was not just enough on the night.

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