Sciver-Brunt fifty, Wong hat-trick put Mumbai in WPL final
UP Warriorz crashed to 110 all out in the Eliminator
Mumbai Indians 182 for 4 (Nat Sciver-Brunt 72*, Ecclestone 2-39) beat UP Warriorz 110 all out (Navgire 43, Wong 4-15) by 72 runs
A spectacular knock from Nat Sciver-Brunt, the tournament's first-ever hat-trick from Issy Wong and a return to all-round brilliance powered Mumbai Indians to the Women's Premier League final with a comprehensive 72-run win over UP Warriorz.
Mumbai and Delhi Capitals - the top teams on the points table - will play for the first ever WPL title. Harmanpreet Kaur and Co will take Meg Lanning's team for the trophy. Only fitting.
For most of the WPL, Mumbai were predicted to reach the final directly. They had won five straight matches and looked near invincible… till they lost two on the trot and were suddenly table-toppers no longer.
They had to play the Eliminator against Warriorz, the team that had ended their winning streak in the league stage. And in the first knockout game, the Mumbai from the first half of WPL showed up, dominating with bat and ball to reach the final comfortably, if one game late.
Sciver-Brunt stands up and delivers
Nat Sciver-Brunt, the joint-most expensive overseas player at the auction, stood up and delivered at the time Mumbai needed her the most. She had not had the best of games in the last few outings, which had coincided with her team's downturn in fortune.
But in a knockout game, she came good with an unbeaten 72 off 38 balls on a pitch that didn't look to be the best for batting.
Sciver-Brunt was dropped when she was on just 6 by Sophie Ecclestone on the last ball of the Powerplay, and she punished the error heavily. She kept the innings going even as Hayley Matthews and Harmanpreet fell at the other end and then built a 60-run stand with Amelia Kerr in just 37 balls.
Sciver-Brunt's knock was crucial given Mumbai's under-exposed middle and lower order had struggled to make big runs when the top was dismissed early. The pattern was almost repeated when Harmanpreet fell with just about a 100 on board and the Warriorz spin strength slowly stifling the runs.
One moment that stood out was how she took the attack to Parshavi Chopra, who had just dismissed Matthews, after the first boundary-less over of the innings. She slammed the young spinner for 15 runs in the first four balls of the 12th over, an early marker of intent. Her 50 came off just 26 balls, with a cracking boundary and she stayed till the end, with a six even on the last ball of the innings.
Shout out to Pooja Vastrakar as well, who slammed 11 off just 4 balls after coming in the final over, including a massive 87-metre six.
For Warriorz, the standout bowler was Ecclestone who took two wickets to keep her hold on the Purple Cap. Left-armer Anjali Sarvani got early purchase but Alyssa Healy's heavy rotation of bowlers didn't work for her this time around.
Wong on song
In the second innings, it was another English allrounder than starred for Mumbai.
The first hat-trick of the WPL came via an out-and-out pace bowler as Wong put the match out of the Warriorz' reach in the 13th over with the wickets of the well-set Kiran Navgire, Simran Shaikh and Ecclestone.
She had already struck with the big wicket, that of birthday girl Healy, to give Mumbai the ideal start. She then sealed the match with the hat-trick.
Mumbai dismissed the spine of the Warriorz' batting line-up - their three Australians - within eight overs. Navgire, who had a string of poor scores after her opening-match fifty, kept the momentum going and landed some big hits, including a huge 89-metre six.
But as is her wont, she went for a big one on a full toss and was caught at the boundary. Thus started Wong's song.
Next up was Shaikh, who was castled with a full delivery she completely missed. Then came Ecclestone, who had a bit of history. The last time these two teams met, Ecclestone had smacked Wong for a six in the last over to hand Mumbai their first loss of the season. This time, she was out for a golden duck with her stumps broken. Wong's last two wickets were the kind to go in a pace bowling highlights reel.
There was more to cheer for Mumbai and the 39,000-odd crowd that showed up. Jintimani Kalita got her first wicket and Saika Ishaque got her 15th, keeping the Purple Cap very much in her reach.