Mumbai Indians Triumph Over Delhi Capitals in WPL 2024 Opener

Capsey and Rodrigues assisted Delhi in setting a target of 172, and Bhatia and Harmanpreet guided Mumbai's pursuit.
Mumbai Indians Triumph Over Delhi Capitals in WPL 2024 Opener

(Cricket News) The Women’s Premier League’s opening night of the second season concluded in spectacular manner, much like it began. Protecting the winners Mumbai Indians won four wickets to begin their title defence in Bengaluru, cruising home in a thrilling last-ball match.

After the game swung one way and then the other, a movie-like climax seemed appropriate, especially considering how glamorous the opening ceremony had been, owing to Bollywood’s A-listers.

Mumbai, chasing a surprising 172, needed 22 runs from the final two overs with captain Harmanpreet Kaur in position. In the last over, she struck a six to reduce the equation to 12 off 6. The Capitals switched to Alice Capsey, the part-time off-spin with the longer border on the leg side. After she removed Harmanpreet and Pooja Vastrakar in the first five balls, the move appeared to be almost successful.

But to start the celebrations at a nearly full M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Kerala all-rounder S Sajana, playing in her first WPL encounter, crushed Capsey over long on with five needed off the final ball. Just a few hours prior, Capsey had shone with a 53-ball 75 at bat, helped along by Sajana’s mishandled catch.

On the second ball of the chase, Mumbai lost Hayley Matthews as she attempted an off drive and gave Marizanne Kapp a piece of her mind. With a beautiful drive beyond wide mid-off for four, Yastika Bhatia got off to a great start.

After hitting Annabel Sutherland for two fours, she gave Shikha Pandey a particularly rough game in the final over of the powerplay. Bhatia got a thick outside edge past the wicketkeeper after lofting her over mid-off first. Mumbai ended the powerplay on 50 for 1 when she then caught a short delivery over deep midwicket.

With her first ball, Arundhati Reddy yorked Nat Sciver-Brunt with a slower inswinging swing, but Bhatia was unstoppable. She appeared ready to bat through the chase after reaching her fifty off thirty-five balls. Nevertheless, when she lifted another slower ball from Reddy across the line, she found Kapp at deep midwicket.

Harmanpreet struck gold with her opening ball, a clean cover drive. Even after Bhatia had holed out, she continued to rotate the strike and consistently found the boundaries. As the pursuit neared, Sutherland and Kapp’s brisk pace only aided her.

She raised a 32-ball fifty with a huge six over long-on. In the opening game of the WPL 2023, she too scored fifty runs during a successful chase, giving the impression that we had seen this before. However, once she was dropped, the pursuit appeared to wane before Sajana took the unimaginable step.

There were rumors that Shabnim Ismail, who Mumbai brought in for the sale, may replace Issy Wong. However, she did not just start WPL 2024 before Wong did; she also bowled an opening spell that would have put an end to any thoughts that Ismail was a “back up.” Left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque supported her with a one-run first over from the other end.

After that, Ismail struck with a 118-km/h delivery on the opening ball of her second over, which trapped Shafali Verma as she attempted to mow the ball across the line after clearing her front leg. Ismail’s statistics for the Capitals during the powerplay read 3-0-10-1, with only 26 goals scored for 1. When she came back at the death, a misplayed catch kept her from taking a set Capsey wicket.

Meg Lanning and Capsey had steadily recovered before the powerplay’s first over saw the shackles snapped. Before Lanning followed suit and smacked Amelia Kerr mid-on, Capsey danced down to lift her over further cover. SB Keerthana, a rookie and another legspinner, was dismissed for 13 in her lone over.

Field limitations were abolished, and the Capitals managed to score 37 in the three overs when Lanning and Capsey smashed a six and a four in Kerr’s next over. After the stoppage, however, Sciver-Brunt prevailed over Lanning in one over.

Capsey’s gear change cue. She reached a half-century off just 36 balls after hitting two sixes and a four off Matthews. In addition to Jemimah Rodrigues, who combined tenacity with a fine touch, the Capitals consistently found boundaries as the game neared its conclusion. Before Capsey fell, Rodrigues and Capsey put up 74 runs in just 40 balls. After being removed for 72, she attempted a reverse sweep off Kerr but failed.

Rodrigues also frequently peppered the on side boundary, showcasing her wares. Before clubbing a slower bouncer from Sciver-Brunt over deep midwicket, she despatched a slower one from Ismail over long on.

Capitals finished on 171 thanks to a late burst from Kapp, who struck three fours in the penultimate over. However, Mumbai, who kept up a perfect record of run-chases in the WPL, found it insufficient.

See more: Shami’s Participation in IPL 2024 Uncertain Amid Ankle Injury Concerns.


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