Harmanpreet Kaur unleashed her fireworks while the bowlers backed her effort excellently as Mumbai Indians routed Gujarat Giants by 143 runs in the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) game at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
The India and MI captain hit a classy 65 off just 30 balls, cracking 14 boundaries that powered her side to a massive 207/5 after the Giants won the toss and opted to bowl first. The Giants then suffered a major setback when their captain Beth Mooney hurt her left ankle and had to leave the field in the very first over of their reply.
MI bowlers, thereafter, kept striking at regular intervals to bowl the Gujarat side out for a paltry 64 in 15.1 overs. Bengal left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque finished with the best figures among the Mumbai bowlers, taking 4/11 in 3.1 overs.
Mumbai Indians captain Harmanpreet Kaur, in an image posted on Twitter on Saturday, during her 30-ball 65 in the inaugural match of the Women’s Premier League, against Gujarat Giants Women at the DY Patil Stadium. PTI photo
For sure MI and their skipper Harmanpreet couldn’t have asked for a better start in the very first edition of the tournament. Such a knock was just what the WPL needed in its opener.
Individually also, the innings should make Harmanpreet feel a little better, especially after her disappointing run-out dismissal in the semi-final against Australia in the recent Women’s T20 World Cup, which went on to cost India the game.
The Giants were doing well to apply the brakes on MI with the quick dismissals of England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt and the West Indies captain Hayley Matthews (47), who was looking dangerous.
At the end of the halfway stage of their innings, MI were 77/3. That’s when Harmanpreet took charge.
With New Zealand all-rounder Amelie Kerr (45 not out off 24 balls), she began to find the boundaries with ease, thanks to wonderful timing and placement. The duo also ran well between the wickets during their 89-run stand for the fourth wicket before Harmanpreet fell off Sneh Rana’s bowling.
She had done her job, though, as MI were already 166/4 in 17 overs. Kerr and Pooja Vastrakar (15 off 8 balls) then took MI’s total to 201 before the latter perished in the penultimate ball of the first half.