UP Warriorz have knocked out Gujarat Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore from the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League (WPL). They defeated the Giants in the last-over thriller and will now be playing the Eliminator of the tournament. It was a brilliant performance from Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris yet again as they anchored the chase for the Warriorz to chase down 179 runs in the final over.
After opting to bat first, the Giants got off to a flier courtesy of Sophia Dunkley and Laura Wolavaardt. The duo added 41 runs in 4.1 overs before Anjali Sarvani disturbed the timber of the latter. Rajeshwari Gayakwad then struck twice in the same over to send back Harleen Deol and Dunkley as the Giants were reduced to 50/3 from 41/0. This is when Dayalan Hemalatha and Ashleigh Gardner joined hands and propelled the Giants with their partnership.
Hemalatha was surprisingly the aggressor among the two as she played some breathtaking strokes. Gardner also got into her groove after a slow start and made amends. The two players added 93 runs together in 10.1 overs to set the Giants for a grandstand finish. Both cricketers got to their respective half-centuries as well and were set for a big finish. However, Parshavi Chopra got the better of them in consecutive overs to rock the Giants at the backend of the innings. They could score only 12 runs in the last two overs and ended up at 178/6 in their 20 overs.
At one stage, they looked like getting to 190-odd but slowed down considerably in the last few overs. Apart from Parshavi, Rajeshwari Gayakwad picked up a couple of wickets while Sophie Ecclestone was the most economical bowler of the innings.
UP Warriorz needed 179 runs to seal their place in the playoffs but they started off poorly with Alyssa Healy getting out for just 12 runs. Devika Vaidya didn't contribute much while Kiran Navgire also scored only 4 runs to leave the side reeling at 39/3. Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris then came together and revived the innings, not for the first time. McGrath perhaps seemed to be taking the game away from them with a terrific half-century. But there was still a twist in the tale as she got out to Gardner on 57 and the momentum shifted to the Giants favour even more when Deepti Sharma followed her soon.
Harris was key for the Warriorz as 41 runs were needed off the last four overs. She also got to her half-century in the process as the equation got down to 30 runs off last three overs. The 18th over saw Harris and Ecclestone churn 11 runs with the former smashing a big six off Gardner to turn the game on its head. Harris smacked a six to bring it down to 7 off 8 balls but there was still a twist as she got out trying to finish the game. Her wicket led to Gujarat needing 7 runs off the final over and Ecclestone kept her nerves to take the team home with one ball to spare.