In their first-ever Women’s Premier League match, UP Warriorz defeated Kim Garth’s five-wicket haul thanks to an incredible fifty from Grace Harris. The Gujarat Giants suffered their second painful loss in as many games as a result of the Alyssa Healy-led team’s three-wicket victory.
Wait until you hear the details of how Harris played it, though. Grace was held to 17* off 15 balls when batting at No. 6 with the team requiring 84 off 48 and wickets falling at the other end. Despite Kiran Navgire’s 43-ball 53, the equation became so difficult that 59 off 19 was required. Tanuja Kanwar then delivered a full toss that sailed over midwicket. Giants had been dominating the game up until Kim Garth’s subsequent over, which was also the 18th of the innings, saw three straight boundaries given.
Stand-in captain Sneh Rana decided to bat first this time on a used surface because they had previously chosen to bowl first against MI and lost by a huge 143 runs. (Beth Mooney, the regular captain, was absent because she was still healing from a knee injury she sustained in the previous game.) At the innings break, Harleen Deol thought the target of 170 was a “fantastic total,” and for good cause. The Giants were able to dominate major portions of the second inning thanks to Kim Garth, who was chosen for the game, who made a mark and even returned a five-for. But, they ultimately succumbed to Harris’ outstanding performance. She simply could not be stopped.
The beginning was swift. PowerPlay stats read 34/0 off 22 balls. In a span of five balls, the openers Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, and Sabbhineni Meghana all lost their wickets. The first breakthrough had been made by Deepti Sharma, who yorked Dunkley on the charge before Meghana (24 off 15) and Annabel Sutherland were returned thanks to Sophie Ecclestone’s two goals. After Tahlia McGrath was out for just 13, the Giants were in serious trouble at 76/4 in the eleventh over, and things only got worse from there. At that point, Ashleigh Gardner and Harleen Deol joined forces for a counterattacking 44-run stand as they approached the wicket.
Gardner, not afraid to use her feet, plowed through covers to get to Rajeshwari Gayakwad before lofting Ecclestone for a six over long-on. In the 17th over, Harleen outlasted Gardner (who was stumped by a ball that ricocheted off the gloves of the keeper) and struck Devika Vaidya for four straight boundaries. Dayalan Hemalatha’s useful cameo, which included two fours and a six and came off just 13 balls, helped the Giants score 28 runs in the final 16 balls after Deol fell four short of her fifty-run mark.
5-16 in three overs is an impressive total. While Garth was bowling her second over, she grabbed a quick return catch and quickly put the dangerous Alyssa Healy out of commission. In the same First over, two more wickets fell: Tahlia McGrath edged the first delivery, and Shweta Sehrawat’s miscue was caught low by Mansi Joshi at short third. In her third over, Garth took two more wickets, first bowling Simran Shaikh and then returning to bounce out Navgire.