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3rd Match (N), Bengaluru, February 25, 2024, Women's Premier League
(18.1/20 ov, T:127) 129/5

MI Women won by 5 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
31 (25) & 4/17
Cricinfo's MVP
112.99 ptsImpact List

Amelia Kerr, Shabnim Ismail help Mumbai Indians take down Gujarat Giants

The defending champions were aided by captain Harmanpreet Kaur's unbeaten 46 to ace the middling chase

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
Amelia Kerr and Shabnim Ismail finished with a combined seven wickets  •  BCCI

Amelia Kerr and Shabnim Ismail finished with a combined seven wickets  •  BCCI

Mumbai Indians (Harmanpreet 46*, Kerr 31, Kanwar 2-21) beat Gujarat Giants 126 for 9 (Kanwar 28, Bryce 25*, Kerr 4-17, Ismail 3-18) by five wickets
Shabnim Ismail put in a superb display of new-ball bowling in Bengaluru, puncturing the top-order of Gujarat Giants as Mumbai Indians notched up their second win of WPL 2024. She was ably assisted by legspinner Amelia Kerr, who picked up four wickets.
The defending champions limited Giants to 126 and were aided by captain Harmanpreet Kaur's unbeaten 46 to ace the middling chase. They got home with five wickets and 11 balls to spare.

Harmanpreet and WPL run-chases

Harmanpreet and run-chases have been a love story in the WPL. She began this season with a half-century in a chase against Delhi Capitals, much like she had done in the very first match of the inaugural season, also against Giants. She averages over 63 in chases in the brief history of the competition. Which is why Mumbai would have breathed easy even when Nat Sciver-Brunt's departure had them at 49 for 3.
A pristinely timed cover drive got her going against Capitals, and here, she punched Tanuja Kanwar's left-arm spin through cover-point for four to get going. The target in sight meant she could take her time, which she did even as Sciver-Brunt attacked at the other end. She brought out her paddle sweeps and reverse-sweeps often to manoeuvre the ball around and kept Mumbai well ahead of the asking rate. In the company of Kerr, she almost brought Mumbai within sights.
Even after Kerr and Pooja Vastrakar fell in a space of five balls, there was no reason for Mumbai to panic. Harmanpreet ensured it stayed that way, finishing off the match with a six over deep midwicket.

Giants cut down to size

It was a dream start for Mumbai after they opted to bowl. It did not take long once again for Ismail to draw first blood. Ismail, whose international retirement last year left the cricketing world in shock, has been sparkling as a T20 freelancer, and she was no different on Sunday. She set Veda Krishnamurthy, who was on her WPL debut, up with a length ball moving away, before getting one to nip back in sharply from a fullish length. Veda was on the move on the front foot and was pinned in front for a second-ball duck. In her next over, Ismail meted out a similar treatment to Harleen Deol, getting her lbw. Giants lost two wickets as well as both their reviews in the first 16 balls.
Phoebe Litchfield - also on WPL debut - brought her reverse sweep along and showcased it against Hayley Matthews. But her stay was short-lived as she edged one to short third off Sciver-Brunt. Harmanpreet constantly shuffled her bowlers around and never let the batters cut loose. D Hemalatha's one such effort had her hole out to long-on.
Sensing an opportunity to close out the innings early, Ismail was brought on for her last over in the 11th of the innings. And she managed to dislodge the immovable Beth Mooney, who had steadily moved along to 24. At 5 for 58, Giants were well and truly in mush. And it only got worse when Kerr joined the party in the 14th over. She first had Ashleigh Gardner caught at long-on before deceiving Sneh Rana with a wrong'un to bowl her through the gate two balls later.
The rescue act of Bryce and Kanwar
When Giants were struggling at 78 for 7 with just over six overs to go, Kathryn Bryce, the only Associate player in WPL 2024, was joined in the middle by Kanwar. The duo managed to find regular fours off the two legspinners, Kerr and SB Keerthana. Bryce also managed to get underneath a tossed-up Matthews ball to tonk it into the deep midwicket stands. The pair helped Giants take 33 in the last four overs, despite the double-wicket final over from Kerr.
After the rescue act with the bat was done, Bryce and Kanwar now began in earnest with the ball. The Scotland allrounder struck on her second ball in the competition to have Yastika Bhatia miscue to mid-off in the third over. Brought on as the fourth bowler in the fourth, Kanwar managed to have Matthews hit against her left-arm spin straight into the waiting hands of deep midwicket. In her final over - the 17th - she squared up Vastrakar to knock her over and finished with 2 for 21 off her four overs.
When she fired an accurate throw to the wicketkeeper Mooney in the eighth over to catch Sciver-Brunt short, it seemed that Kanwar could inspire Giants to do the unthinkable. However, the experienced Harmanpreet ensured that Mumbai's head-to-head against Giants read 3-0 in their favour at the end of Sunday.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

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Over 19 • MI-W 129/5

MI Women won by 5 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)
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