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Gujarat Giants are defeated by Mumbai Indians thanks to Amelia Kerr and Shabnim Ismail.

Gujarat Giants are defeated by Mumbai Indians thanks to Amelia Kerr and Shabnim Ismail.

Mumbai Indians recorded their second victory of the WPL 2024 when Shabnim Ismail’s outstanding new-ball bowling display in Bengaluru punctured the Gujarat Giants’ top order. Amelia Kerr, a legspinner who took four wickets, well supported her.

Harmanpreet Kaur, the skipper, scored an undefeated 46 to help the reigning champions limit the Giants to 126 and ace the mediocre chase. They needed eleven balls and five wickets to make it home.

Run-chases for WPL and Harmanpreet

In the WPL, run-chases and Harmanpreet have been a romantic couple. Just as she had done in the opening game of the previous season, which was also against the Giants, she started this season with a half-century in a chase against the Delhi Capitals.

For this reason, even with Mumbai at 49 for 3 following Nat Sciver-Brunt’s exit, they could have relaxed.

She started off against the Capitals with a well timed cover drive, and to get rolling here, she punched Tanuja Kanwar’s left-arm spin past cover-point for four. She could take her time since she could see the target, and she did so even as Sciver-Brunt attacked from the opposite end. She maneuvered the ball around frequently by using her paddle sweeps and reverse sweeps, which allowed Mumbai to stay well ahead of the asking rate. With Kerr by her side, she nearly made Mumbai a reality.

Giants are sliced into smaller sizes

Mumbai made the brilliant decision to bowl first. Once more, it didn’t take long for Ismail to seize the lead. Ismail has been amazing as a T20 freelancer, and on Sunday she continued to do so. Her sudden announcement of her retirement from the national team last year shocked the cricketing community. She got WPL rookie Veda Krishnamurthy started with a length ball that was heading away, but then she got one to nip back in sharply from a fullish length. Veda moved quickly on the front foot and was pinned in front for a duck of the second ball. Ismail gave Harleen Deol the same treatment in her subsequent over, resulting in her leg before wicket.

In the first 16 balls, the Giants lost both of their reviews and two wickets.

Phoebe Litchfield, who was also making her WPL debut, demonstrated her reverse sweep against Hayley Matthews. However, she only lasted a short while as she defeated Sciver-Brunt by a narrow margin. Harmanpreet never let the batters to get away with it; she was always moving her bowlers around. In one such attempt, D Hemalatha’s hole was too long.

Ismail was brought in for her final over in the eleventh over of the innings, sensing a chance to end the innings early. And she succeeded in moving the unyielding Beth Mooney, who had gradually advanced to 24. Giants were essentially in mush at 5 for 58.

And when Kerr joined the fray in the fourteenth over, things only got worse. Two balls later, she tricked Sneh Rana with a wrong’un to bowl her through the gate after having initially trapped Ashleigh Gardner at long-on.

The flight of Bryce and Kanwar to safety

With just over six overs remaining and the Giants floundering at 78 for 7, Kathryn Bryce—the lone Associate player in the WPL 2024—joined Kanwar in the middle. Both Kerr and SB Keerthana, the two legspinners, were regularly foured out by the pair. Additionally, Bryce was able to get beneath a ball that Matthews flung up and send it into the deep midwicket stands. Despite the double-wicket final over, the duo contributed to the Giants’ 33 in the final four overs.

Following their successful rescue operation with the bat, Bryce and Kanwar started playing with the ball seriously. In the third over, the all-rounder from Scotland hit on her second delivery of the match, causing Yastika Bhatia to mistake to mid-off. As she entered the field as the fourth bowler in the fourth over, Kanwar was able to get Matthews to hit against her left-arm spin right into the waiting palms of deep midwicket. She squared up Vastrakar in the 17th over, her last over, to get out for 2 for 21 from her four overs.

It appeared as though Kanwar could motivate the Giants to pull off the unimaginable when, in the eighth over, she made a precise throw to wicketkeeper Mooney to catch Sciver-Brunt short. But at the end of Sunday, Mumbai’s head-to-head versus the Giants read 3-0 in their favor because to the experience of Harmanpreet.

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