Match Preview – MI Women vs UPW Women, Women’s Premier League 2022/23, Eliminator

Large image: Warriorz and Mumbai, a story of contrasts

In this inaugural season of the WPL, UP Warriorz have specialized in doing the impossible. They announced their arrival with a blockbuster win, which Grace Harris secured from what seemed like a point of no return. They lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore, who had lost their first five games on the trot, ending the Mumbai Indians’ five-game winning streak.

Warriorz made the playoffs on the back of a strong middle class. Of the 1161 runs Warriorz has scored, 663 have come from the middle order (Nos. 4 to 7), the most in the WPL. Tahlia McGrath and Harris have made the giant’s share of these runs, both scoring over 200.

By contrast, Mumbai’s mid-class have contributed only 464 of their 1119 runs, with almost half of those mid-class runs coming from Harmanpreet Kaur. The other big contributor was Amelia Kerr, who hit an unbeaten 45 in the tournament’s opener. However, Pooja Vastrakar and Issy Wong have been blowing hot and cold, and as a result, Mumbai’s batting tends to lose fizz if the top order hasn’t scored too many runs, as has been the case lately. Mumbai have lost two of their last three games, taking scores of 127 and 109 for 8 in those two defeats.

Warriorz and Mumbai each fielded four Indian players without cap in the competition. However, Warriorz also regularly played against Kiran Navgire and Anjali Sarvani – who have played just six T20Is each – and Devika Vaidya, who has played 13 T20Is. Navgire started the tournament with a half-century, while Sarvani has three wickets to show in her eight appearances. Only Vaidya hasn’t left a mark yet and was left out of Warriorz’s last league game. Sarvani and Parshavi Chopra have joined the experienced Warriorz bowlers with Sophie Ecclestone, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti.

Mumbai, meanwhile, has relied heavily on their established names. Apart from Saika Ishaque, who has taken 13 wickets, Mumbai’s other significant contributions, with both bat and ball, come from the likes of Harmanpreet, Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Kerr.

They are hoping for more of their unlimited contingent as they look to jump past Warriorz and set up a title clash with Delhi Capitals.

Form guide

Mumbai Indians WLLWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
UP Warriorz LWWLL

In the spotlight: Saika Ishaque and Sophie Ecclestone

In the first four games of the WPL, left arm spinner Saika Ishaque took 12 wickets at an economy rate of 5.85. This was at a time when scores were high and the overall economy of all bowlers was 8.44. However, Ishaque was wicketless in three of her last four appearances as she went at an economy rate of 7.78. The bowlers’ general economy in this period (after March 14) was 7.60. A staple of the Mumbai bowling line-up, all eyes will be on Ishaque in the Eliminator.

Sophia Ecclestone has been a consistent performer in the WPL, picking up wickets on each of her outings. Her economy rate of 6.22 is the best among bowlers with ten or more wickets in the league. She has also shown glimpses of her skill with the bat under pressure. Expect the English spinner to perform on the big occasion.

Team news: Harris ready for possible return

Mumbai haven’t really shaken their squad unless they’re worried about injuries. So expect them to field an unchanged side. If they’re looking for a tweak with the tired throws in mind, they might look to Chloe Tryon, given that she bowls spin with her left arm to match her hard hitting.

Mumbai Indians (likely): 1 Hayley Matthews, 2 Yastika Bhatia (wk), 3 Nat Sciver-Brunt, 4 Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), 5 Amelia Kerr, 6 Pooja Vastrakar, 7 Issy Wong/Chloe Tryon, 8 Amanjot Kaur, 9 Humaira Kazi , 10 Jintimani Kalita, 11 Saika Ishaque

Grace Harris missed the Warriorz’s last league game with what their head coach Jon Lewis called “a minor injury”. When she recovers, she can return in Shabnim Ismail’s place.

UP Warriorz (likely): 1 Alyssa Healy (capt & wk), 2 Shweta Sehrawat, 3 Kiran Navgire, 4 Tahlia McGrath, 5 Grace Harris, 6 Deepti Sharma, 7 Simran Shaikh, 8 Sophie Ecclestone, 9 Anjali Sarvani, 10 S Yashasri/Rajeshwari Gayakwad, 11 Parshavi Chopra

Location and conditions

It will be DY Patil’s 11th and last match to run this WPL, where 60 of 114 wickets have fallen. The spinners’ economy rate of 7.72 at this location is only marginally higher than the fast bowlers’ 7.18. The field in Navi Mumbai is not as spin-promoting as the one at Brabourne Stadium, even though both Warrriorz’s Ecclestone and Mumbai’s Ishaque have taken seven and eight wickets here respectively.

Statistics and tidbits

  • The highest and lowest team totals at DY Patil Stadium in the WPL come from Mumbai Indians – 207 for 5 in the opener and 127 against UP Warriorz.
  • Three players from Mumbai and only one from Warriorz (Ecclestone) have taken more than 11 wickets

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo