Fireworks are guaranteed when Alyssa Healy and Harmanpreet Kaur, the captains of UP Warriorz and Mumbai Indians, respectively, meet on opposite ends on a cricket field.

The two have shared a history of minor skirmishes, heated celebrations and icy greetings in international cricket.

With the battle to finish in the top three in the mix, between a side comfortably placed third – Mumbai – while the other – Warriorz – fights tooth-and-nail – drama is assured in their Women’s Premier League (WPL) match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Thursday.

As of Wednesday (before the Gujarat Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore [RCB]), MI and UPW are placed third and fourth in the standings.

The former comes into this game after a 29-run loss to Delhi Capitals while UP Warriorz limped to a 23-run loss against the Royal Challengers.

ALSO READ: ‘Be a Jemimah Rodrigues and you’ll be fine’ – A lesson on the power of self belief

MI got a reality check of how tough the low and slow conditions at the Jaitley Stadium can be and, will look to emulate the template set by Jemimah Rodrigues from this game onwards.

That said, it will be a whole new challenge should the pitch be different for this game.

MI’s loss can be called the odd blip in the season for a dominant side that has players firing in unison with bat and ball.

Shabnim Ismail clocked the fastest recorded delivery in the women’s game, enough to leave a player of Meg Lanning’s calibre and experience a little puzzled as to where the ball went after she played clumsily off the pads. The Warriorz’s line-up would have been taking notes.

MI has seen good showings from the top and middle order but it is the explosive power of S. Sajana and Amanjot Kaur that will give the side plenty of confidence going forward.

For the Warriorz, Healy and the top-order are expected to shoulder much of the scoring responsibilities but she has not been consistent enough to anchor the team’s batting efforts enough this season.

Her support has also been sporadic with Indian talents like Shweta Sehrawat and Kiran Navgire are also yet to strike some rhythm leaving the team depending on its foreign pool.

ALSO READ: WPL 2024: Shabnim Ismail bowls fastest ball in women’s cricket, breaches 130 kmph barrier

Grace Harris and Chamari Athapaththu have been saddled with big-hitting duties but among the Indians, barring Navgire, only Poonam Khemnar has looked comfortably up to the task.

This has been a rather quiet tournament so far for Deepti Sharma with bat and ball. She has just three wickets so far this season and needs to return to her wicket-taking form to give Sophie Ecclestone support, particularly in breaking key partnerships.

A win will give UP Warriorz a boost in its bid to stay alive in the competition, with RCB squeezing through for space in the top three. With MI the steadier outfit of the two, Harmanpreet will eye a straightforward victory to return to winning ways.


Source link