A clash of polar opposites is what one gets when you put UP Warriorz and Delhi Capitals in the same arena. One, last season’s runner-up, has managed to retain stability and form and is turning out to be a side as on-song as it was in the first chapter, while the other is still struggling to address core inadequacies that hurt its case last time.

UP Warriorz has the added inconvenience of playing back-to-back games and will come into this fixture after a 42-run drubbing at the hands of Mumbai Indians, a game the side could have comfortably won. A commendable bowling effort saw Alyssa Healy’s side restrict a star-studded MI to just 160, but what followed with the bat was forgettable, to say the least.

The Warriorz’ persistent decision to clump all of their big hitters up the order came back to bite them. With Healy and Kiran Navgire falling early, the onus fell on Grace Harris’ shoulders to get the target to an easier ask for the rest of the lineup. Harris and Deepti Sharma took far too long to find comfort and confidence. While Deepti eventually fixed her strike rate and scored her maiden WPL fifty, Harris fell after a laboured innings with her strike rate in an uncharacteristic range of the 60s. Dispersing its power hitters should be first on Jon Lewis’ agenda as his team goes up against one of the in-form batting contingents in the tournament.

READ | Jonassen on contemplating retirement, an Aussie comeback and power of having a point to prove

Deepti also needs to find some success with the ball so that Sophie Ecclestone has company when hunting for wickets, particularly in the middle overs. Chamari Athapaththu’s contributions with the ball have temporarily taken the sting of a few underwhelming outings with the bat, but her all around finesse will be key in Warriorz’ chances against Meg Lanning’s Capitals. Saima Thakor’s ripper to dismiss Harmanpreet Kaur on Thursday should be one she watches on a loop as she hopes to add a few more illustrious names to her list of scalps from the season.

The Capitals come in well-rested and raring to go. With the ball, a four-pronged pace attack that tries (and largely succeeds) to be economical and lethal helps the side’s case immensely. An in-form Jess Jonassen, who currently holds the purple cap, makes this side a hard one to outfox in the field. Shafali Verma and Lanning are in fine form and, along with Alice Capsey and other cameo-ready players like Marizanne Kapp, have helped the Capitals cruise to key wins, even going against the grain of winning chases by successfully defending two totals at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

Their first home game against MI a few days ago also evidenced how well-oiled this side is and how the players are peaking at the right time. The Capitals will want to steer clear of complacency as Warriorz needs this win a lot more desperately than they do to keep themselves and some spice alive in the tournament as the league stage enters its final few days.


Source link