Harmanpreet Kaur couldn’t stop smiling after Mumbai Indians became the winner of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League on Sunday (March 26). Captaining for India, Harmanpreet has lost a couple of knockout encounters and this historic win will come as a huge sigh of relief for the 34-year-old.
When Mumbai reduced Delhi Capitals to 79/9 by the end of 16 overs, it looked like it would end up being one of those one-sided affairs, but Shikha Pandey (17-ball 27*) and Radha Yadav (12-ball 27*) had other ideas. The two added 52 runs in 24 deliveries for the last wicket and propelled Delhi to a competitive total of 131/9.
In reply, Mumbai lost Hayley Matthews and Yastika Bhatia inside four overs but Nat Sciver-Brunt (55-ball 60*) and Harmanpreet (39-ball 37) added 72 runs for the third wicket. Harmanpreet couldn’t finish the job but Sciver-Brunt did.
“Great experience, we were waiting for so many years. Everyone enjoyed this throughout the dressing room. It feels like a dream, for everyone here. So many people were asking when WPL will come and that day is here, and we are so happy and proud,” said Harmanpreet at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I think having a long batting line-up, we had to go there and express. Very happy with how everyone performed. I think staying positive is key, we were lucky with full tosses going in our favour.
“This is a special moment for all of us, I have been waiting a long time and today I know what it feels like to be winning (laughs). Great experience and waiting for next year.”
Sciver-Brunt, who crafted a steady fifty in a tensed run-chase, was named Player of the Match. The all-rounder from England ended the tournament as the second-highest run-getter, slamming 332 runs in 10 innings at an average of 66.40 and a strike rate of 140.08.
“It was very special. Glad I was able to stick it out when the pressure was on. I was trying to get quite tough and Harman and Melie (Amelia Kerr) took the pressure off me. I knew if I stayed till the end we'd get through,” said Sciver-Brunt.
“We gave away too many in the final 3-4 overs, but it made the game interesting. (Winning the trophy) means everything, coming together with a special group of girls with the Mumbai Indians, really special moment.”
Meanwhile, West Indies’ Hayley Matthews was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The spin-bowling all-rounder not just claimed 16 wickets (joint-highest) at an average of 12.62 but also scored 271 runs at an average of just over 30.
“It is crazy, hopefully the first of many. We have been through a lot of ups and downs, happy to win it in the end. To create history and bring it home is great. Happy to contribute, being able to do things with both bat and ball. Important to take back the award but more happy to win with Mumbai Indians,” said Matthews.