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RESULT
1st Match (N), DY Patil, March 04, 2023, Women's Premier League
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(15.1/20 ov, T:208) 64

MI Women won by 143 runs

Player Of The Match
65 (30)
harmanpreet-kaur
Updated 04-Mar-2023 • Published 04-Mar-2023

Live Report - Gujarat Giants vs Mumbai Indians, WPL 2023

By Shashank Kishore

Winning start for Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians win by 143 runs.
Giants were never in the hunt. Losing Beth Mooney to an injury in the first over accelerated their downfall.
Impressive beginning from left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque. Equally impressive were Issy Wong and Amelia Kerr.
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Amelia's awesome WPL initiation continues

Last year, we ran a series called 'Who Does It Best'. When it came down to picking a winner for the googly in women's cricket, we debated hard between two candidates before picking Amelia Kerr as our No. 1 pick.
One look at her spell today should tell you why that googly is deadly. You can't play her with leaden feet and a feeble defence. Because Amelia has this capability of fizzing the ball back in at pace. And that makes her very difficult to read off the hand and pitch.
Sneh Rana found out the hard way. As did Tanuja Kanwar, who was outfoxed because she played for a googly and got snuffed out by a legbreak.
Giants in danger of not batting out the overs at 46 for 7 in 11 overs.
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Something about Saika Ishaque

What an initiation into the WPL for Saika Ishaque, who at 27 is trying to make up for lost time in her career. And early impressions suggest we’ll hear a lot more of her this season and, possibly, beyond.
She’s got a lovely left-arm spinner’s action. There’s loop, gentle drift, flight, dip - all the elements that make bowlers of this craft a delight to watch. What she also posesses, which could make her an X-factor player, is a deceptive carrom ball.
In her very first over, she put down a catch off her own bowling, but roared back to dismiss Annabel Sutherland with some skid off the pitch. She saw Sutherland backing away to heave into the leg side, and cleverly pushed it through quicker and got her with an arm-ball.
Off her second over, she brought out a carrom ball that pitched on off and had Wareham playing for conventional turn. Except, this one spun back in to beat the inside edge and crash into the stumps.
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Giants chase going nowhere

At 17/4 in six overs, Giants need to realistically look at getting as close as they can to the target. Eight games for each side, and net run rates will definitely come into play if the league phase is a tight one. Two allrounders in D Hemalatha and Georgia Wareham have to do bulk of the scoring now before Sneh Rana and the bowlers. No update yet on Beth Mooney.
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Wong's prodigious journey to MI

From being a spectator at the Wankhede Stadium in 2019 to playing there four years on, Issy Wong's already ticked off an item from her bucket list as a 20-year old. That isn't it. She's also picked up a wicket in her very first over at the WPL, apart from pocketing an excellent catch at third man. Stints at WBBL, the Hundred and now a maiden WPL stint under Charlotte Edwards and Jhulan Goswami. The possibilities are endless.
As a child, she used to love watching Rohit Sharma's MI win titles for fun. Here she is now, with the same franchise and scripting a terrific beginning.
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Mooney limps off the field

Off the third ball she faced, Beth Mooney appeared to have twinged her ankle. Immediately she stopped and called for the physio, before being helped off the ground and straight into a waiting ambulance, presumably for a scan.
As if their captain's loss wasn't enough, Giants have also lost the wicket of Harleen Deol to an excellent catch by Issy Wong at third man. Harleen was through with a flick early and ended up getting a leading edge.
Giants are already up against it at 2/1 in one over.
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Giants set 208 for victory

Sweeps in front of square, behind square, pulls off half-trackers, scythes behind point, inside-out over cover - Harmanpreet doesn't have a hitting range. She's so good that she can hit you anywhere. That's enough pressure for bowlers to contend with. And the Giants came under her wheel; at one point she had hit seven consecutive fours.
At the other end, Amelia was equally destructive, bringing out those strong forearms and shoulders to good use by walloping boundaries into the arc between wide long-on and deep midwicket. They put on 89 off just six overs to change the complexion of the innings as 130 came off the last 10.
Giants will have to bat out of their skins to get close
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Vastrakar channels lessons from Hardik, Jadeja

She specialised in range hitting at the National Cricket Academy, where she spent considerable time during her rehab. It was there that she developed a bit of familiarity with Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, who were also recuperating from injuries and fitness issues of their own.
And so, whenever they trained, Vastrakar would have a keen eye on their methods. Until one day, Vastrakar was the one batting with India's two allrounders giving her inputs and tips.
All those batting lessons seem to be coming to good use. Here in the 19th over, with boundaries the need of the hour, Vastrakar showcases her punch.
Only four fielders can remain outside the ring after the powerplay in women's cricket, unlike five in men's. Mooney had mid-off in and mid-on back, and asked her spinners to bowl into the pitch to perhaps have Vastrakar dragging it across the line.
Instead, Mooney ends up applauding Vastrskar's shot selection as she slaps, pulls and shovels her way to three boundaries in the 19th.
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Harmanpreet replicates Baz 2008

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22 Number of balls Harmanpreet has taken to raise the first half-century of the WPL
Giants seem a little rattled here. They first made the mistake of leaving deep square open with spin against Harmanpreet, and then saw her sweep them off their lengths to repeatedly pepper that boundary.
Then when they had deep square for protection, they saw Amelia Kerr sweep uppishly in front of square to beat the field.
Overs 13-15 have gone for 34. Mumbai Indians 159 for 2 with four overs remaining.
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Giants hit back

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From 69 for 1 to 77 for 3, Giants have pulled the game back at the halfway mark. Over to Harmanpreet Kaur to bring out the fireworks in the second half. That's what the expectant Mumbai crowd want
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The Matthews Show

A few years from now, when Hayley Matthews sits down to write chapters of her cricket career, it's possible India will hold a special place.
On a balmy April evening in 2016, Hayley Matthews announced herself on the world stage by playing an innings for the ages to knockdown Australia on the grandest stage of them all.
Seven years on, Matthews arrives in India having been a gun T20 player for hire. Having played at the KSL, the Hundred, the WBBL, you name it. And so it felt as if her WPL signing was a no-brainer, except no one bid for her at the auction in the first round.
For a minute, there was stunned silence. A marquee West Indian player unsold. Perhaps Mumbai were playing a moneyball game, and hoping there'd be a second chance to sign her. And so when they put in her name in the accelerated round, they knew there was a chance. And at INR 40 lakh, Matthews was theirs.
Come big day, Matthews is treating the DY Patil faithful to some massive hits. She's already hit three of them. Mumbai Indians are charging along at 69 for 1 in the ninth over.
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And the first six is hit by?

IPL's first in 2008: Brendon McCullum off Zaheer Khan
WPL's first in 2023: Hayley Matthews off Mansi Joshi.
And what about the first wicket?
Left-arm spinner Tanuja Kanwar. Belts out a vociferous roar as she dismisses Yastika Bhatia in the third over of the evening. Mumbai Indians are 16/1 in the third.
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Mumbai Indians in diversity

Their overseas roster for tonight's game includes a West Indian in Hayley Matthews, Englishwomen in Nat Sciver-Brunt and Issy Wong, and a Kiwi in Amelia Kerr, who can bat anywhere in the top six apart from bowling her legbreaks and ripping googlies.
Mumbai Indians (Playing XI): Hayley Matthews, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Amanjot Kaur, Pooja Vastrakar, Humaira Kazi, Issy Wong, Jintimani Kalita, Saika Ishaque
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Giants' all-Australian overseas roster

A gun opener in Beth Mooney, the No. 1 allrounder in Ash Gardner, an excellent seam bowling allrounder in Anabelle Sutherland and an upcoming legspinner in Georgia Wareham.
Talking of their Indian talent, they're slightly light on pace bowling experience. Monica Patel is a left-arm seamer who has fallen off the radar after debuting in 2021. Mansi Joshi, with a round-armish action and the ability to swing the ball, will be more than a handful. Her career hasn't risen to the heights of 2017, when she was part of that World Cup side that finished runners-up, but here's a massive opportunity.
D Hemalatha and Sneh Rana are two spin-bowling allrounders. Harleen Deol and S Meghana will hope to blaze the trail when it comes to young Indian batters. Both are aggressive and have been on the fringes of the Indian team for a while. Obviously with Mandhana, Shafali, Harmanpreet, Jemimah and Richa, breaking into the batting order has been tough. But a good WPL can put them right in contention.
Gujarat Giants (Playing XI): Beth Mooney(capt, wk), S Meghana, Harleen Deol, Ashleigh Gardner, Annabel Sutherland, D Hemalatha, Georgia Wareham, Sneh Rana, Tanuja Kanwar, Monica Patel, Mansi Joshi
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The Pitch Question

It's a lovely green-tinged surface. Hard pitch that will aid good bounce. Batters can fearlessly hit through the line without any inhibitions. The big factor, though, could be dew. Remember, the game is starting at 8pm, by which time you expect some of it to arrive anyway. So no team will have a runaway advantage. That said, the captain winning the toss may want to field first.
And that's exactly what Gujarat Giants will do as Beth Mooney calls correctly.
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Favourites for 2023?

Which WPL team has the strongest squad?
6.3K votes
Mumbai Indians
Gujarat Giants
Delhi Capitals
Royal Challengers Bangalore
UP Warriorz
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Time for some song & dance

We’re getting started with a super cocktail of cricket, Bollywood extravaganza and some Punjabi rap in the form of AP Dhillon. Kriti Sanon and Kiara Advani are set to lead the song and dance party. We’re already high on glamour quotient.
Massive cheer from the crowd as Sanon waves the WPL flag ahead of her opening act. The title track of Shah Rukh Khan’s blockbuster ‘Chak De India’ is played out as she takes centerstage.
It's so nice of the BCCI to have invited actress Mandira Bedi to host. Mandira became a household name when she became a TV anchor in 2002, but her role in Indian cricket, women's cricket especially, has been more impactful.
Between 2003-2005, before women's cricket came under BCCI's ambit, Mandira helped raise funds for the Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI). Mandira, who was brand ambassador of a leading jewellery brand, offered to hand over the entire contract fee she would've earned through her endorsements to the WCAI. That aside, she also roped in sponsors in her personal capacity to help WCAI organise cricket. If India were able to participate in the 2005 World Cup without any hitch - they finished runners-up - Mandira had a massive role to play. Salute.
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Full House

We're expecting a sell out at DY Patil, but who would've thought we'd see an entire auditorium packed to the hilt to see Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur address a press conference.
Just a little over 10 years ago, at the 2012 Women's T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, Mithali Raj was told to look left and right while answering questions from a lone journalist at the press conference, just to make it appear as if the room was packed. From there to this, well, I'll need to wipe a tear or two. Let the games begin.
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It's new. It's historic. It's a giant leap. Hello, WPL

Some dates are more special than others. And in the same list as
25 June, 1932
25 June, 1983
24 September, 2007
April 18, 2008
2 April, 2011
19 January, 2021
You will see 4 March, 2023. Written in bold.
It’s new. It’s progressive. It’s historic. And a giant leap for women’s cricket in India. In its 50th year of existence.
Hello and welcome to the inaugural match of the Women’s Premier League, a dream that began taking shape on a cold July day in 2017, after India spurred a revolution at the 50-over World Cup by finishing runners-up when nobody gave them a chance.
Perhaps even they didn’t think they stood a chance, until Harmanpreet Kaur played that knock, one that catapulted a nation’s interest in women’s cricket.
This is for all those who came before, and left an indelible mark on the women's game, long before there were central contracts, equal pay, business class flights and five-star hotel stays. This is also for those who pooled in money, funded their own travel, stayed in railway compartments and hostels, makeshifts tents, all for the love of cricket. Railway platforms were their nets, waiting rooms was their pavillion.
A big thank you to those who've led the way to get to where we are. It's truly momentous. It may have been a few years late, but the wait has been worth it.
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