WPL review: Gujarat Giants vs UP Warriorz

Australian all-rounder Grace Harris' stunning knock of 59 not out off 26 balls sealed an unlikely victory for UP Warriorz in a nail-biting match against Gujarat Giants.

Sunday’s match between UP Warriorz and Gujarat Giants was an absolute nail-biter. In the end, it was Australian all-rounder Grace Harris’ stunning knock of 59 not out off 26 balls that sealed the unlikely victory for UP Warriorz. It was an incredible performance in the final over, with Harris bravely standing up to the pressure in a must-win game for her team. With each ball, spectators let out cheers of delight as Harris maneuvered her way through a maze of powerful deliveries from Gujarat’s bowlers. By the end she had successfully taken her team to victory, providing an unforgettable moment for everyone present at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.

With an unsteady score of 105 for 7 in the 16th over, and needing an incredible 170 runs to win, Warriorz were on the brink of elimination. Little did they know, Sophie Ecclestone was about to unleash her magic and reignite their hopes. Joining Harris at the crease with a score of 105-7, Sophie orchestrated a jaw-dropping 70 run partnership in just 4.1 overs to catapult Warriorz towards an unexpected victory. The huge swing in momentum was a credit to Sophie’s brilliant all-round batting performance, proving that it pays off to never give up hope until the last ball is bowled!

The drama of the final had reached its crescendo as the warriorz faced off against Annabel Sutherland with 19 needed to take home victory. Harris seized the moment, rising to the occasion by smashing a huge six into mid-wicket off the first ball. Two balls later and with 6 runs still required, Harris went for it again, this time taking 4 and setting up an exciting final 2 balls. With 2 runs needed for victory, Harris wasn’t about to leave it all in the hands of fate. She showed why she was leading from the front on this day, hitting an unmatchable shot that flew over long-on for another four and tying up scores off the fourth ball. With everyone holding their breath and counting every second, Harris hit a six to send her team home in style with a one-ball spare, claiming victory for the Warriorz!

On Saturday night, Pacer Kim Garth put on a brilliant performance for Gujarat in the captain’s absence. Deputizing for Deandra Dottin, Ms. Garth delivered two scintillating overs to help set up what could have been a remarkable victory. Rumors had been circulating as to whether or not she was capable of filling some big shoes and she certainly rose to the occasion. With a tough 5 wickets in 36 balls, she eventually framed the game beautifully before her side was upstaged by an immovable Harris-Ecclestone stand. It is this standout performance that proves why she was needed so badly and puts all doubters to bed; Kim Garth is a force to be reckoned with!

The Gujarat Giants proved their resilience and spirit yesterday, bouncing back from their crushing defeat in the opener of the WPL. What made this comeback truly remarkable was their achievement of this feat due largely to Irish-Australian recruit Garth. Her spell of 5/36 led to UP being reduced to 20/3 inside three overs, with two batswomen out for a duck. This is the second fifer in the competition, coming on the same day – a testament to how extraordinary Garth is and how significant her skills are for her team’s revival.

Tara Norris of an Associate Nation (USA) opened the Women’s Premier League with a stunning first fifer, captivating the crowd. However, there was more thrills to come as another cricketing talent stole the show just moments later. A team of lesser-known players overshadowed some of the tournament’s leading names; its star bowler celebrating three quick wickets in one over from Alyssa Healy, Shweta Sherawat and Tahila McGrath for a goose egg. Wicket after wicket made history as this unknown bowler sat on top of their world and thoroughly impressed the disbelieving spectators at the ground. It was truly a remarkable display of skill and stamina, sure to provide long lasting memories for all those lucky enough to witness it.

In the first over of Indian Premier League 2021, Healy had smacked a beautiful half-volley for a boundary. However, undeterred, Garth bounced back in her second attempt to dismiss him. This was followed by a stunning catch at mid-on courtesy Mansi Joshi, off Garth’s own bowling and Sehrawat had to depart. After that, Mansi Joshi again came into action by catching McGrath on a golden duck and the pressure was heavily on Uttar Pradesh who were left reeling at 20/3 inside the third over.

The Uttar Pradesh side had high hopes when Kiran Navgire, their burly and hard-hitting batsman, was promoted to No 3. He played an aggressive 43-ball innings scoring 53 runs off it which included 5 fours and 2 sixes much to the delight of the UP fans. Unfortunately, their excitement was cut short when Navgire departed the crease after taking UP’s score closer to the target set by the opponents. Garth took his fourth wicket of the day with this wicket, bringing a half to UP’s side which dampened their spirit as they chased down the target set earlier.

The Gujarat Giants were looking poised for an easy victory, with their opponents Uttar Pradesh reduced to 105/7 in 15.4 overs. However, the fortitude and resilience of UP’s Harris and Sophie ensured that the match went down to the wire. The duo refused to roll over without a fight and displayed remarkable composure under pressure by stalling Gujarat’s progress with some persuasive stroke play and intelligent running between the wickets. Garth proved unplayable for Simran Shaikh, as she raced to her fifer before Harris got his eye in and began steadying the crumbling ship. In what was a highly enthralling encounter, UP ended their innings on a respectable 134/9 off their 20 allotted overs.

With their finals hopes on the line, UP found themselves in a precarious situation needing 65 runs to win off the last four overs. But, Harris’ agility and presence of mind to dance down the track and slam Tanuja Kanwar for a six over midwicket breathed life into their campaign. His onslaught, along with striking partnerships with Ecclestone, resulted in a much needed break from despair as his quickfire innings had taken the equation down to 33 off 12 balls. Encore was perfect from Ecclestone when she put Gardner’s delivery over long-on boundary for an emphatic win and UP finally reached the top of the summit with an unstoppable force of spirit and courage.

Seamer Annabel Sutherland faced great pressure as she had to defend 19 runs in the last over to seal the win for her team. However, her opponent Harris remained calm and determined, pulling a six off the first ball and then hitting a boundary. Not giving into pressure, he then called for a review for a wide that was given in his favour. Finally, his efforts paid off when after all the twists and turns of the match, he sealed the win with a boundary followed by another six. It was without any doubt an exciting finish to an exhilarating match.

The Gujarat Giants had a lot to prove when they returned to the stadium a day after a crushing 143 defeat against Mumbai Indians. Fortunately, they managed to turn the tables and put up an impressive 169 runs on the board. Credit goes to Sneh Rana for her 46 off 32 balls counter-attack that provided the batting order some much needed stability and grit. It seemed as though one big inning would be enough to lift their spirits, but the whole team contributed in small and significant ways. Ultimately, it was their collective efforts that decided the outcome of last night’s match; something that all involved will remember for days or even weeks to come.

Sophie has returned as the world’s top-ranked T20I bowler with a stellar performance against Gujarat, taking away 2/25 from her four overs. Joining her in restricting Gujarat’s progress was Deepti who also bagged two wickets for 27 runs in her allocated four overs. The spin duo combined to create an effective spinweb that left Gujarat struggling to make progress while they were batting. Despite the apparent loopholes in their bowling attack, the two women managed to demonstrate exceptional control and wisdom as they cleverly looked to stymie the Gujarat batters. All in all, this is a great signifier of what more is yet to come from both these talented bowlers and their anticipation will be heard loud and clear across stadiums around the world!

Gujarat Giants made a roaring comeback in their second fixture of the WPL after they had suffered a humiliating 143-run defeat against Mumbai Indians during their previous game. The team chose to bat first and got off an explosive start with the batsmen showing superior skill and finesse right from the beginning. With a stellar batting performance, Gujarat Giants managed to rack up an imposing total on the board putting pressure on their opponents to reach it or face defeat as a consequence. What follows is nothing but pure suspense and guessing game!

There was no denying the strong start by Anjali Sarvani’s pace attack, but for Sabbhineni Meghana (24; 15b) and Sophia Dunkley (13; 11b), this served as a minor hiccup in their quest for runs. Meghana teed off with confidence, ringing the fielders’ ears with back-to-back boundaries that got the scoreboard ticking. As if to prove her partner wrong, Dunkley then responded with even more authority, smashing the bowler’s delivery to different parts of the park on her way to makig eleven boundaries in all. Together, they countered Anjalli with aplomb and laid a foundation for a big total.

Thanks to Deepti Sharma and Sophie Ecclestone, India made a great start to their defence of a low total, reducing England to 10-2 in the fourth over. Sharma struck with her first delivery, bowling Tammy Beaumont for a duck with a perfect yorker. Ecclestone then had Meghana Raj caught behind off her third ball to leave England reeling.

Sarah Ecclestone followed up her first wicket in the sixth over by quickly claiming another scalp in the seventh, with Annabel Sutherland departing for just 8 runs. After that, the Victorians found themselves in a spot of bother when Tahlia McGrath chipped her way to 76/4 in the fifteenth over. It looked as though they were beginning to find their stride before Sushma Verma’s poor shot selection saw her wicket quickly taken, leaving her stranded on 9 with still almost half of the innings left to play.

Harleen’s marvellous batting revival was a joy to watch, as she and the world’s top-ranked all-rounder Ashleigh Garnder carefully progressed through the middle overs. Despite running into trouble early on in the innings, the duo managed to combine efforts and completely turn the match around. With Harleen’s strong technique being complemented by Garnder’s more adventurous shots, the momentum of their batting match was propelled to great heights, eventually leading to a vital win for their team. It was an inspiring performance that nobody who witnessed would forget in a hurry.

Ashleigh had been a dominating presence on the pitch all afternoon, but it was in the 16th over when she looked most ominous. Her powerful strokeplay had already dispatched several deliveries to the boundary, and as Deepti prepared to release her tossed up delivery, many feared what would come next. But they needn’t have worried; Deepti tricked Ashleigh with exceptional spin and brains, managing to dramatically stump the batter out. It was no surprise then, that cheers of exhilaration echoed around the ground when this unlikely victory was secured.

Harleen’s batting performance was exceptional during the game and she set the tone for everyone else. Her consecutive boundaries against Devika Vaidya really gave their team the momentum it needed to stay competitive and challenge for the win. Unfortunately, her efforts were not enough as the team fell short of their target. She was close to reaching a half-century, but Anjali Sarvani’s bowling ensured that she couldn’t quite get there. Despite this, it was a robust effort from Harleen who proved to be a real gamechanger.

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