Amelia Kerr's all-round show and Shabnim Ismail's brilliant spell took the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) to victory over Gujarat Giants (GG) in the third fixture of the Women's Premier League (WPL) 2024 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. While chasing a small target of 127 runs, MI finished off the game in the penultimate over (19th) with five wickets in hand and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (46 in 41 balls, with five fours and a six) unbeaten on the crease. ‘I Used To Bat With a Coconut Branch’ Recalls Sajeevan Sajana, Whose Last-Ball Six Helped Mumbai Indians Win WPL 2024 Opener.

Kaur apart, Kerr (and Nat Sciver-Brunt played notable knocks for their side. Where on one side Kerr scored 31 runs which was laced by three fours runs on the other hand, Sciver-Brunt played a knock of 22 runs with the help of four boundaries. Starting the chase, MI lost openers Yastika Bhatia and Hayley Matthews for seven runs each, slipping to 21/2 in 3.4 overs.

At the end of the powerplay, MI were 39 for the loss of two wickets. Skipper Harmanpreet and Nat Sciver staged a fightback thereafter before the latter was run out by Kanwar and Mooney, reducing MI to 49/3 in 7.4 overs. MI reached the 50-run mark in eight overs. Kerr and Harmanpreet took calculated risks, taking MI past the 100-run mark in 14 overs.

Following this, GG fought back briefly with the wickets of Kerr and Pooja Vastrakar, but a six from Harmanpreet sealed the match with 11 balls to go.

For GG, the highest wicket-taker was Tanuja Kanwar who snapped two wickets in her spell of four overs where she conceded 21 runs. One wicket each was grabbed by Kathryn Bryce and Lea Tahuhu in their spells of three overs where they conceded 22 and 17 runs respectively.

Recapping the first innings, put to bat first by Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Giants had a shaky start. Pacer Shabnim Ismail trapped Veda Krishnamurthy leg-before-wicket for a duck in the first over. GG was 3/1 in 0.4 overs. Harleen Deol was next up to bat and hit Nat-Sciver Brunt for a gigantic six on her third ball, but Ismail also trapped her lbw for just eight runs in nine deliveries, sinking GG to 13/2 in 2.4 overs.

Skipper Beth Mooney was joined by young Australian star Phoebe Litchfield. They both attacked Hayley Matthews' spin in the fourth over, smashing her for three fours. Just when it seemed that GG was building towards something big, Nat-Sciver removed Litchfield for just seven runs. Sathyamoorthy Keerthana took an easy catch. GG was 37/3 in 5.2 overs.

At the end of the powerplay in six overs, GG was 43/3. Mooney and Dayalan Hemalatha took GG to the 50-run mark in 7 overs. Soon, Hemalatha became Matthews' first victim, caught by Amelia Kerr for just three at long-on. GG was 52/4 in 7.3 overs. Ismail got the prized scalp of skipper Mooney for 24 in 22 balls, consisting of two fours. She was caught by wicketkeeper Yastika Bhatia. GG sunk to 58/5 in 10.1 overs.

After some fine display with her fielding, it was Amelia's turn to shine with the ball, removing a dangerous Ashleigh Gardner for 15 in 22 balls and cleaning up vice-captain Sneh Rana's stumps for a duck in the same over. GG sunk to 78/7 in 13.4 overs. Tanuja Kanwar and Kathryn Bryce started to rebuild the innings, putting up a fine fight against mighty MI bowlers. The duo powered GG to the 100-run mark in 17.2 overs, with a four by Kanwar.

Kerr broke the partnership of 48 runs between the duo, cleaning up Kanwar for 28 in 21 balls with four boundaries after she was stumped by Yastika. On the final ball of the innings, she also removed Lee Tahuhu for zero. GG ended their innings at 126/9 in 20 overs. Amelia (4/17) was the pick of the bowlers for MI. Ismail also took 3/18 in her four overs. Nat-Sciver and Hayley also took a wicket each. Mother of Coincidence! Asha Shobana’s Five-Wicket Haul in WPL 2024 Is Eerily Similar to Anil Kumble’s Fifer From IPL 2009, Here’s Why.

Brief Score: Mumbai Indians 129/5 in 18.1 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 46*, Amelia Kerr 31, Tanuja Kanwar 2/21) vs Gujarat Giants 126/9 in 20 overs (Tanuja Kanwar 28, Kathryn Bryce 25, Amelia Kerr 4/17).

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