WPL Match 3, GUJ-W vs UP-W - Talking Points and Who Said What?

Gujarat Giants lost their second consecutive match at the WPL 2023 as UP Warriorz clinched a victory from jaws of defeat.

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Sophie Ecclestone
Sophie Ecclestone. (Photo Source: Twitter/WPL)

Gujarat Giants lost their second consecutive match in the ongoing Women’s Premier League after being defeated by Alyssa Healy’s UP Warriorz by three wickets in a thriller of a contest. The two sides locked horns in the third match of the tournament at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, March 5.

Gujarat were without their leader Beth Mooney after the side was handed massive blow in the first match due to her injury. Led by stand-in skipper Sneh Rana, the Giants won the toss and elected to bat first. The side was unable to get the required start as newcomer Sophia Dunkley was sent packing for 13 runs. 

However, Harleen Deol’s knock handed a major boost to attain a competitive total in their stipulated 20 overs of the contest. The batter got 46 runs off 32 balls which included seven boundaries at the strike rate of 143.75. With underwhelming scores from rest of the unit, Gujarat Giants concluded with a score of 169 runs on the board.

In response to the total, Kiran Navgire of the Warriorz put up a fight during the run chase in order to execute a rescue job. Her half-century momentarily handed hopes of a possible win but as the wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, Kiran too succumbed under pressure. The side lost six wickets in under 90 runs of the match which tilted the momentum to the rival side. However, an unbeaten 70-run partnership between Grace Harris and Sophie Ecclestone quickly revived their game as they won the contest by three wickets with just a ball remaining.

Here are the talking points from the clash-

Harleen Deol’s delicate 46-run knock

Following the underwhelming start by the opening duo, the onus was on Harleen to carve out a vital knock and she rightfully did so. Despite being unable to convert it into a big one, her delicate 32-ball 46 handed a major momentum in the contest as the side could post a competitive total of 169. 

Kiran Navgire’s gritty half-century

Similarly, Kiran Navgire’s knock came when UP Warriorz lost their opening pair in under 20 runs of the match during the chase. With the pressure mounting, Kiran decided to step up and put on a show as she hit two maximums and five boundaries to get to her half-century. Just when she began taking control of the chase, her innings was cut-short by the game-changer herself- Kim Garth.

Kim Garth’s five-wicket haul

Garth failed to make it to the XI in the previous match which cost lots to the Giants in the contest. However, her inclusion did not come as a surprise as the side required an impact player who could hand the major breakthroughs. Kim Garth instantly created an impression as she dented the batting line-up and more specifically the top and middle-order in the chase to tilt the momentum. Impressively, the pacer racked up a five-wicket haul to conclude her first outing in the WPL.

Grace Harris-Sophie Ecclestone stitch match-winning partnership

Just when the match seemed to be slipping out of UP Warrioz’s hands, Grace Harris (59* off 26) and Sophie Ecclestone (22* off 12) carved out a magical knock. An unbeaten 70-run partnership off mere 26 deliveries immediately got them back into the chase and helped their side snatch the game from the jaws of defeat.

Winning Captain Alyssa Healy said-

Full credit to Grace and our lower-order in particular. Grace is Grace. That's the only way to describe it. She's got the ability to strike the ball like she did. Kiran was sensational. If we lost an early wicket, we were going to send her in for a whack. She was great tonight. When you throw them the ball, you know what you'll get (Sophie and Deepti). We'll celebrate that. It was pretty special.

Losing Captain Sneh Rana said-

Disappointed with the loss, but proud of the girls, especially after last night's loss. Kim gave away a lot of boundaries in the last over, we lost there. Girls have played well, we were ready for the challenge, proud of them. I enjoyed my leadership, I enjoy being the leader. When you have responsibility you got to enjoy it. The girls fought really hard today. The dew plays a major role when you field second, it's difficult to grip the ball, but that is how it is.

Player of the Match, Grace Harris said-

I started poorly. You need to get the conditions to know how to play. Was thankful that Sophie motored along. Great feeling to finish the game off. I actually knew what I wanted to do. Was getting a bit antsy when there were so many breaks with the DRS at the end. I was just really psyched to get out there and have a bat. Have trained a lot. Love batting with a bit of freedom. Healy, the coach supports any decision. She is a clean striker (Sophie). There was a little bit of confusion towards the end, when the ump walked over to say the DRS has gone down. It was a good bit of fun. Don't know where I'll find some burgers in India. Maybe some butter chicken.

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