Gujarat Giants vs UP Warriorz in a lopsided race for playoffs
Gujarat Giants are still alive in the playoffs but they are so far down the points table despite having the same points as Royal Challengers Bangalore due to their net run rate of -2.511 that they have virtually no chance of finishing the top three. Monday afternoon is their last league game and even if they score 160 and beat UP Warriorz by 100 runs, they will still need Warriorz to lose to Delhi Capitals by 112 runs to keep them ahead of NRR. Not only that, they will also need Royal Challengers to lose their last game against the Mumbai Indians.
The focus then is on Warriorz, who are in third place and are the only team to beat Mumbai. They can confirm their spot in the playoffs simply by winning one of their last two games or even if they lose their last two games, but by slim margins, and they wouldn’t want to do that.
With the pitches starting to tire and help spin, Warriorz have an unenvious line-up full of spinners, and they gave 18 of their 20 overs to spinners in the win against Mumbai at DY Patil Stadium. Monday’s first game is at Brabourne Stadium, where Giants hope they can either repeat what they did at Capitals, defend a low total of 147, or score high like they did on Saturday.
Ashleigh Gardner has done it for Giants with bat and ball as she was their finisher and regular wicket taker, including in the power play. She is their second highest scorer and is also their joint highest wicket taker, and if Monday turns out to be their last game, expect another top performance from her to sign off.
Left arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone is the joint top wicket taker in the WPL with 12 strikes and also gives Warriorz a more than convenient lower-ranking batting option, which they showed off with a match-winning six against Mumbai on Saturday.
Gujarat giants (possibly): 1 Sophia Dunkley, 2 Laura Wolvaardt, 3 S Meghana, 4 Ashleigh Gardner, 5 D Hemalatha, 6 Harleen Deol, 7 Ashwani Kumari, 8 Sneh Rana (capt), 9 Sushma Verma (wk), 10 Tanuja Kanwar, 11 Kim Garth
Warriorz and Giants have the worst power play scoring percentages in WPL as of now – 6.30 and 6.38 respectively
While bowling, Giants have leaked runs with the worst speed (9.35) in power plays, while Warriorz have taken the fewest wickets (six) in the same phase
There are six spinners in the top seven wicket takers in the WPL so far, and two of them are from Warriorz – Ecclestone and Deepti Sharma
“I’ve had a good few weeks since the halfway point of the World Cup, but I think we had a psychologist with us during that tournament and I talked to her a lot. I can.” Gujarat giants Laura Wolvaardt on carrying her form from the T20 World Cup to the WPL
“There is no pressure as such, we take it game by game. We focus on ourselves and not what other teams are doing.” UP Warriorz Vice Captain Deepti Sharma about her team’s playoff prospects