Eastern Eye (UK)


English players star in thrilling victory over Delhi to help team bag inaugural title


ENGLAND’S Nat SciverBrun­t last Sunday (26) hailed Mumbai Indians’s “special group of girls” after her unbeaten 60 powered them to a seven-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals in the final of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL).

Mumbai restricted Delhi to 131-9, a total they overhauled with three balls to spare at their Brabourne Stadium home after a 72-run thirdwicke­t stand between Sciver-Brunt and skipper Harmanpree­t Kaur (37).

Kaur was run out in the 17th over but Sciver-Brunt raised her third half-century of the WPL to anchor the team home with Amelia Kerr, who made 14 not out, for company in an unbeaten stand of 39.

Sciver-Brunt hit the winning boundary as the Mumbai dugout erupted in celebratio­ns. The women have added to the record five Indian Premier League (IPL) crowns of the men’s team for the franchise owned by Nita Ambani, wife of India’s richest man, Reliance Industries billionair­e Mukesh Ambani.

“It (the win) means everything.

At the start of the competitio­n, I did not know what to expect,” the player of the match, SciverBrun­t, said. “Coming together with a special group of girls with the Mumbai Indians, really special to be standing here.”

Kaur said: “It feels like a dream, for everyone here. So many people were asking, when will the WPL come and that day is here, and we are so happy and proud.”

England pace bowler Issy Wong and West Indies off-spinner Hayley Matthews set up the victory as they claimed three wickets each to flatten the opposition after Delhi elected to bat first.

Wong rattled the opposition top-order, striking twice in her first over, the second of the match, with the wickets of Shafali Verma (11) and Alice Capsey (0) in the space of three deliveries.

Skipper Meg Lanning (35) and Jemimah Rodrigues hit back with four boundaries in five balls, but Wong struck again with the wicket of Rodrigues as Delhi slipped to 35-3.

The in-form Lanning, who captains Australia in all three formats, consolidat­ed her top spot in the tournament batting charts with 345 runs, but her run out hurt Delhi badly.

Delhi kept losing wickets and collapsed from 73-3 with Kerr picking up two wickets to return impressive figures of 2-18. Delhi looked down and out before a late blitz from number eight batter Shikha Pandey (27 not out) and Radha Yadav (27 not out) lifted the team from a precarious 79-9 to bat out the innings.

They put on an unbeaten 52-run 10thwicket stand off just 24 balls to take the total past 100.

But Matthews demolished the opposition batting with figures of 3-5, and returned as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 16, alongside Sophie Ecclestone of UP Warriorz.

In their chase, Mumbai lost their openers inside four overs, but Kaur and Sciver-Brunt soaked up the pressure as players from the men’s team, led by Rohit Sharma, looked on along with a nearly packed house at the 20,000-capacity stadium. The stand was broken with Kaur’s run out after she attempted to steal a single only to fall short at the nonstriker’s end, but there was no stopping Sciver-Brunt.

“We would have loved to win tonight, but full credit to Mumbai Indians they have been excellent throughout the tournament, so they deserved their win,” said Lanning.

The WPL is the second most lucrative domestic women’s sport competitio­n globally after WNBA basketball in the US.

The 16th edition of the men’s IPL, which remains the biggest revenue earner for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), begins on Friday (31) in Ahmedebad. Defending champions Gujarat Titans, captained by Hardik Pandya, face the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the first match of the season.

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 ?? Both images © Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images ?? SPECIAL EFFO Th Mu ai Indian tea celebrate th r win;
d (inset eft) at civer-Brun
Both images © Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images SPECIAL EFFO Th Mu ai Indian tea celebrate th r win; d (inset eft) at civer-Brun

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