Sciver-Brunt, Wong power Mumbai Indians into WPL final
MI posted a mammoth total of 182/4 before bowling-out UPW for 110 in 17.4 overs
Natalie Sciver-Brunt was batting on 7 when she stepped down to Rajeshwari Gayakwad and miscued one. The ball looped to her England teammate Sophie Ecclestone at mid-off and it seemed as if Mumbai Indians would be reduced to 46/2 at the end of the powerplay. But Ecclestone dropped the catch and Sciver-Brunt ended up scoring an unbeaten 72 off 38, helping MI beat UP Warriorz by 72 runs and reach the Women’s Premier League (WPL) final.
While Sciver-Brunt starred with the bat, her compatriot Issy Wong stole the show with the ball by bagging the first hat-trick of the WPL. The right-arm pacer dismissed Kiran Navgire, Simran Shaikh and Ecclestone off consecutive deliveries in her third over to blow the roof off a near-packed DY Patil Stadium.
Asked to bat first in the eliminator, MI posted a mammoth total of 182/4 before bowling-out UPW for 110 in 17.4 overs.
It was a statement win by Harmanpreet Kaur and Co to set up the final against Delhi Capitals. At one stage in the tournament, they seemed destined to qualify directly for the final before being pipped by DC. But on Friday, they were dominant from start to finish.
Sciver-Brunt had started the tournament in fine form, scoring 182 runs in the first five games, but struggled in the last three games. In the eliminator, though, she was at her fluent best and showed why she went as the joint most expensive overseas player at the auction.
The 30-year-old right-hander hit nine fours and two sixes in her knock, pulling the ball with power and stepping out to drive with authority. Fittingly, she ended the MI innings with a six, after crucial contributions from Amelia Kerr (29 off 19) and Pooja Vastrakar (11* off 4). Mumbai scored 66 runs in the last five overs.
Ecclestone having an off day was one of the main reasons for UP Warriorz’s struggle. Apart from handing that extremely costly reprieve to Sciver-Brunt, the top-ranked bowler in both ODIs and T20Is leaked 39 runs in her four overs. She showed her class by cleaning up Harmanpreet, but UPW needed a lot more from their star bowler.
With the bat, UPW picked up eight runs in the first over of the chase. But things turned dramatically in MI’s favour from there on.
Shweta Sehrawat, India’s top scorer at their triumphant Under-19 World Cup campaign, faced five consecutive dot balls before getting caught at cover, It was a masterful wicket-maiden by left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque, one of the finds of the tournament, and set the tone for a forgettable chase by the Warriorz.
Two balls after Sehrawat was dismissed, UPW were dealt a massive blow as Wong got rid of skipper Alyssa Healy. It was a wonderful delivery by the right-arm pacer, angling in and straightening to get Healy’s leading edge. Harmanpreet’s animated reaction after taking the catch at mid-on said it all.
The Warriorz needed the in-form Australian duo of Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris to dig in but that didn’t happen either. While McGrath was run-out after some sensational work by Amanjot Kaur and Yastika Bhatia, Harris was sent packing by Sciver-Brunt as she hit one straight to long-on.
Navgire, who had had a quiet tournament, struck some lusty blows and raced her way to 43 off 25. With UPW at 84/4 after 12 overs at that point, MI were in the driver’s seat anyway. But then came that Wong over and it killed the contest completely.
It was a stunning spell of fast bowling by the 20-year-old as she swung the ball at pace, held a consistent line and length, and returned with memorable figures of 4/15.
Mumbai Indians will be heading to the final on a high after their comprehensive win over UP Warriorz in the eliminator. And with the army of home fans in the stadium, they’ll be fancying their chances of going all the way.