WPL 2024: All-round Nat Sciver-Brunt takes Mumbai Indians to a win over UP Warriorz

Mumbai Indians handed UP Warriorz their fourth defeat of the season as the reigning champions registered a 42-run win in a 2024 Women’s Premier League clash in Delhi on Thursday.

Asked to chase 161 to win, the Warriorz were restriced to 118/9 despite a fighting knock from all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who scored her first-ever half-century in the tournament off the final delivery of the match.

Mumbai Indians had a simple mantra with the ball – keep the length tight and bowl stump to stump. It worked wonders for Harmanpreet Kaur and co as five of the nine Warriorz’s batters had their stumps rattled.

It all started in the second over of the chase when Saika Ishaque (3-27), cleaned up Kiran Navgire after being hit for a six earlier in the over. A flighted delivery dipped alarmingly on the batter, who ended up yorking herself to have her stumps uprooted.

An over later Hayley Matthews struck gold as Chamari Athapaththu put a short and wide delivery straight into the hands of Sajana Sajeevan in the packed off-side field.

Shabnim Ismail, who bowled the fastest delivery in women’s cricket history the last time she was on field, cleaned up captain Alyssa Healy with a fuller delivery as the UP Warriorz stumbled to 15/3.

The final two overs of the powerplay produced just two runs as Grace Harris and Deepti Sharma went into damage control mode. The Warriorz scorecard read a sorry 17/3 after six overs.

Harris, in particular, struggled to get going. Usually known for her high strike-rate, it took the Australian 15 deliveries to open her account against Mumbai Indians. Though she opened her account in style with a six over long-on, it was just a consolation prize for the Warriorz at this point.

Harris was adjudged leg before wicket off Pooja Vastrakar in the ninth over and had almost walked off without even looking back. It took some convincing from Sharma for the batter to ask a review.

Sharma was proven right and the decision was overturned, but Harris’ stay at the crease did not last much longer as Ishaque cleaned her up in the next over.

Even as wickets fell at regular intervals with Nat Sciver-Brunt (2-14) and Sajana (1-12) getting into the wicket column as well, Sharma waged a lone battle to finish with a unbeaten 53 off 36 deliveries.

Earlier in the day, Mumbai Indians were jolted early as they lost both their openers within the first four overs.

Captain Kaur (33) and Sciver-Brunt (45) added a crucial 59-run stand for the third wicket to pull the defending champions out of troubled batters.

While Kaur took her time to settle in, Sciver-Brunt took upon the role of the aggressor before she fell to Rajeshwari Gayakawad five runs short of a half-cenutry.

Harmanpreet fell soon after to Warriorz’s only pacer Saima Thakor just when she had started to accelerate, before Amelia Kerr (39*) and Sajana (22*) took Mumbai to a safe total with some lusty blows towards the end of the innings.

The hallmark of the Mumbai Indians’ innings was how their batters tackled left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone (0-30), who finished wicketless for the first time in her Women’s Premier League career.

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