Recent match report – MI Women vs GG Women 1st match 2022/23

Recent match report - MI Women vs GG Women 1st match 2022/23

Mumbai Indians Beat 207 for 5 (Harmanpreet 65, Matthews 47, Kerr 45*) Gujarat giants 64 (Ishaque 4-11) with 143 runs

Despite all the glitzy build-up, what the inaugural Women’s Premier League needed to really kick off was an I’m her performance. And it came from Harmanpreet Kaur.

In many ways, the Mumbai Indians captain’s 30-ball 65 could very well be to the WPL what Brendon McCullum’s 158 was to the IPL.

It was as if Harmanpreet wanted to vent the anger of that run-out that swung the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals in Australia’s favour. Gujarat Giants had filled all four of their overseas quotas with Australians. And that was reason enough.

Harmanpreet found herself at center in the ninth over, with Mumbai on 69 for 2. She saw off a set batsman in Nat Sciver-Brunt after a 54-run partnership with Hayley Matthews, who was also sacked in the next over to leave Mumbai . at 77 for 3. Following her Player of the Series performance in the T20 World Cup, Ashleigh Gardner had made another mark.

But Harmanpreet didn’t care. She just attacked the ball, as she has been doing for India for a long, long time. A lucky outside edge in an attempted drive got her going before she timed a Sneh Rana ball through extra cover.

But that was just foreplay. The 12th past showed Harmanpreet at her Harmanbest. And it was obviously filled with sweep shots – one by a back square leg and another by a forward square leg. Georgia Wareham, the bowler, could do little to stop the runs. Even Gardner felt the full force – and reach – of Harmanpreet’s sweep, one ball hitting powerfully through midwicket, the next deftly paddled past short penalty.

By now, Harmanpreet was in overdrive. She hit seven fours off consecutive balls to score a 22-ball half century, the first in the WPL. The famous bat swing was on display. The confidence may never have left. Glimpses of her T20I hundred, That ODI is correct, or more recently the unbeaten 143 were all on display. Sweep, check. Pulls, check. Stick and scythe, check. Thanks to her batting and Amelia Kerr’s able support, Mumbai was able to score 46 between overs 14 and 16, giving them a launch pad.

And all this despite little practice in the run-up.

“Excercise karne ko mila hi nahi (I couldn’t get time to practice)!” she said of her training after the knock. “There was very little time and I had a lot of commitments as a player and captain.”

But the key for the “overthinker” in Harmanpreet was to calm herself down and bring clarity to her thoughts and get herself “in the zone.”

“When I’m calmer and in the moment, it helps bring clarity,” she said. Being in that zone isn’t easy, but when I’m calm it gives me clarity. Being in that zone isn’t easy, but I have to keep talking to myself and being in the present. When I’m in that zone, I’m clearer in choosing my areas. When I’m in the zone things get easy for me and today was that day I was relaxed”.

All of Mumbai rose to applaud Harmanpreet when she finally fell, leaving Rana in the 17th over one to short third, bringing the curtain down on an 89 run score with Kerr on just 42 balls. Kerr then stepped up to lead the attack against the Giants as Mumbai added 41 from the next three overs to finish on 207 for 5. Their tally of 207 for 5 was the second highest in any major Women’s T20 competition (WBBL , Kia Super League, The Hundred, Women’s CPL, T20 Challenge and now the WPL) behind Sydney Sixers’ 242 for 4 against Melbourne Stars in 2017-18.

Like that starry night in 2008, the opposition on the receiving end of a truly amazing T20 innings just couldn’t take it. It didn’t help that their captain and top scorer at the T20 World Cup Final, Beth Mooney, was out injured after seemingly injuring her knee before the first over of the chase had even ended. Giants were 8 for 3 by the end of the fourth over. Then 23 for 7 at the eighth over. And finally went out in the 16th, losing by 143 runs.

Matthews’ fireworks complement Harmanpreet

If Harmanpreet’s knock was the fire, Matthews’ quick start at the top was the spark Mumbai needed to announce themselves in the WPL. Known for their slow start in the IPL – often losing the first few games before embarking on a winning run – Matthews began the hard-hitting performance for Mumbai that really put them on track to kick off with a win. She played a pick-up shot on Sear Mansi Joshi’s first pitch over a deep square leg before cutting a back point for four. She then drove left arm spinner Tanuja Kanwar through covers to complete the power play on 22 of Mumbai’s 44.

Matthews, who announced herself on the world stage with a half-century in the 2016 T20 World Cup final in India, then showed why she scores high with a display of hitting three sixes in the space of seven balls. She first threw a full ball over the seagull Annabel Sutherland’s long leg before simply pushing forward and lifting her over the cow corner a few deliveries later. In the next round, she again scraped her front leg and used her reach to hit her long.

Matthews then used the depth of her crease to punch Gardner through cover point before the latter got the upper hand for a 31-ball 47.

Giants were never on the hunt in their 206-run chase, especially after captain Beth Mooney stumbled off the field in the first over because she may have injured her knee. Sciver-Brunt then had Harleen Deol skype one to deep third of her first ball through a leading edge before castleing S Meghana. In the meantime, the pace of fast bowler Issy Wong undid Gardner for a first-ball duck as Giants lost three wickets in 15 balls. Bengal left arm spinner Saika Ishaque then raced through the middle order to destroy any hope Giants might have had of a resurgence. Only Dayalan Hemalatha – 29 not out – and Patel finished ahead of them in double digits.

Turning point

Mumbai had just started to find the next gear with Harmanpreet and Kerr in the middle and were 124 for 3 after 13 overs. But Patel’s second over really helped them take full control. She curved full and out around the stumps, which Kerr drove through the cover point. A single later, Harmanpreet ripped the left arm bowling apart.

Harmanpreet drove her through cover point first and when Patel switched to over the wicket she squared her through leg. Patel then went full and out only to be ridden by blankets. The last of four in that room was perhaps the best of them all – Harmanpreet opened the front of her bat just a tiny bit to drive it right through the covers. A total of 21 were scored in that over.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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