A late flourish from England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt (60 not out) helped Mumbai Indians beat Delhi Capitals by seven wickets in a low-scoring summit clash to become champions of the inaugural Women’s Premier League in Mumbai on Sunday. In front of a partisan crowd that filled the Brabourne Stadium here to the brim, Mumbai Indians chased down the target of 131 with three balls to spare to lift the trophy. Opting to bat first, Delhi Capitals suffered a collapse to be reduced to 79 for 9 in 16 overs but posted a respectable total of 131 for 9, thanks to a 52-run partnership for the unbroken 10th wicket between Shikha Pandey (27 not out) and Radha Yadav (27 not out).
It was not an easy run chase for MI but they eventually crossed the line, reaching 134 for 3 in 19.3 overs, with Sciver-Brunt and captain Harmanpreet (37) playing crucial roles.
Sciver-Brunt (60 not out from 55 balls, 7×4), also the Player of the Final, struck her third fifty and finished second behind DC captain Meg Lanning (345) in the run-scorers’ chart in the WPL with 332 runs.
Harmanpreet (37 from 39 balls, 5x4s) and Sciver-Brunt joined forces when MI were precariously placed at 23 for 2 in the fourth over, and combined their batting prowess to soak up the pressure and add 72 runs for the third wicket.
MI needed 45 runs from the last five overs though they had eight wickets in hand then. Sciver-Brunt was 28 off 38 balls at that stage but she struck a flurry of boundaries to help her side cross the line.
In the process, Mumbai Indians recorded their second win over Delhi in three meetings this season, with their bowlers producing a stunning show in the first half.
MI made a shaky start, with Yastika Bhatia (4) hitting straight to deep midwicket for the fourth wicket of the final on a full toss, off Radha Yadav. Jess Jonassen dealt the second blow to Mumbai with Hayley Matthews (13 of 12 balls, 3x4s) chipping one straight to short midwicket.
Earlier, Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav fought back with a counter-attacking 52-run unbeaten stand for the 10th wicket, lifting Delhi to 131 for 9.
Delhi Capitals were off to a rocky start, collapsing from 74 for 3 in the 11th over to 79 for 9 after 16, thanks to a devastating show from overseas bowlers Hayley Matthews (4-2-5-3), Isabelle Wong (4-0 -42-3) and Amelia Kerr (4-0-18-2).
However, the 52-run stand between Shikha (27 not out from 17 balls) and Radha Yadav (27 not out from 12 balls) took them across the 100-mark and gave them a fighting chance.
Shikha hit three fours and one six in her knock, Radha smashed two boundaries and as many maximums.
Earlier, Matthews, Wong and Kerr had shared a total of eight wickets between them to put Mumbai in a strong position.
While the Caribbean all-rounder Matthews took her wickets tally to 16 – highest in the tournament alongside UP Warriors’ Sophie Ecclestone – Wong and Kerr also finished at 15 wickets each.
Saika Ishaque failed to get any breakthrough and ended up with an impressive 15 wickets too.
The final was off to a dramatic start with MI claiming the first three wickets off full-tosses from Wong.
The first two decisions were ruled against the batters by the third umpire.
Shafali Verma (11 off 4 balls, 1x4s, 1x6s) began with a six over long-on and a four on the next ball in the second over from Wong, sliced over backward point to beat third man.
However, the Delhi dasher was caught at point by Kerr off a full toss from the English bowler which was waist high.
Wong dealt another blow to the Delhi Capitals, again off a surprise full toss with Alice Capsey (0) failing to control her shot. The catch was completed by a stunning diving effort from Amanjot Kaur at extra cover, and left Delhi reeling at 12 for 2 in 1.5 overs.
Jemimah Rodrigues (9 off 8 balls, 2x4s) began with a superb cover drive off the first delivery she faced off Wong and brought out another drive against Sciver-Brunt in the third over. But before that, Lanning smacked two fours off the first two balls to shrug off some pressure.
But Delhi sunk further when a low full toss swinging away from the off stump from Wong, who changed the bowling ends, had Jemimah playing it straight to Hayley Matthews at point.
DC, who were 38 for 3 at the end of the powerplay, were steadied by Lanning and Kapp. At the halfway mark the Capitals were relatively safe at 68 for 3, but the worst was yet to come.
From 74 for 3 in the 11th over, Delhi Capitals collapsed to 77 for 7 after 14 overs with some poor batting and communication in the middle.
Kapp (18 off 21 balls, 2x4s), who hit her first four on the 17th ball she faced, was removed by Kerr in the 11th over with Yastika Bhatia grabbing the catch.
The South African all-rounder added 38 runs for the fourth wicket in 37 balls.
Mumbai Indians, however, made the biggest breakthrough in the 12th over when Delhi’s captain and mainstay Lanning was run-out for 35.
Lanning’s hesitation to run after Jess Jonassen (2) hurdled a delivery off towards Amanjot at cover cost her dearly, with Bhatia breaking the stumps.
Kerr claimed her second wicket by getting rid of Arundhati Reddy (0), and after Matthews spilled a return catch off Jonassen’s bat in the 14th over, she grabbed a similar chance.
Matthews returned to cap off her best spell in the WPL, getting Minnu Mani (2) stumped to take her 15th wicket in the competition, and added one more when she got one to sneak between Taniya Bhatia’s (0) bat and pads for her third wicket in the game to leave DC tottering at 79/9.
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