Shabnam bowled amazingly for a 16-year-old: Mithali Raj

"Shabnam bowled amazingly for a 16-year-old. The early wickets we got played a huge role,” Mithali said after Gujarat Giants' eight-run win over UP Warriorz.

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Shabnam Shakil
Shabnam Shakil. (Photo Source: Gujarat Giants/WPL)

The Gujarat Giants have kept their WPL 2024 play-off hopes alive with an eight-run win over the UP Warriorz, at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on March 11. Batting first, the Giants set a target of 153 with captain Beth Mooney top-scoring with an unbeaten 74. 

Deepti Sharma (88* runs) got it close for the Warriorz but they fell short. For the Giants, Shabnam Shakil (3/11) was the top performer with the ball. JioCinema and Sports18 WPL experts Saba Karim and Sushma Verma analysed the key performances while Gujarat Giants mentor Mithali Raj spoke exclusively to JioCinema and Sports18 on ‘Match Centre Live’. Excerpts:

Mithali Raj on the turning point in the match: “Beth scored 21 runs in the last over including five boundaries. I think that's where the momentum swung in our direction, and we took that momentum with us while bowling. Shabnam bowled amazingly for a 16-year-old. The early wickets we got played a huge role.”

Also read: At 16, Shabnam Shakil becomes youngest to play WPL

Raj on the changes Gujarat Giants has made after the Bangalore games: “The performances we had in Bangalore were disappointing. 0-4 is not how you want to start a tournament. This leg made us feel like we could bounce back and that not everything was lost. We’ve seen Shabnam in the nets and we took a chance on her bowling. Nobody had seen her bowling before. Surprise elements can lead to great results in this tournament, and Shabnam has been great for us.”

Saba Karim on Deepti Sharma’s performance: There is a lot of stability in her batting. I think she believes she’s truly a match-winner. That is why we’re seeing consistency in the big scores coming from her willow now. She has a lot more confidence and has developed her game all around the wicket. Earlier, she would favour the on-side more with her sweep shots but over the last three to four innings, we have noticed a huge change in her batting. Now, she is hitting it straight, over the covers, over mid-off, mid-on, and can also launch the ball straight into the stands. That is why she's the orange cap holder."

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