It has been just a few days since the start of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) and the competition thus far hasn’t failed to live up to the reputation. We have witnessed high-scoring encounters, some last-ball thrillers and pure batting magic thus far. But when Delhi face UP Warriorz, it might turn a new page in the competition’s history.
Delhi Capitals kicked-off their tournament in fine fashion, with a huge win over one of the tournaments pre-favourites, Royal Challengers Bangalore. But what UP Warriorz did in their encounter against Gujarat Giants was out of the thriller textbook.
With 53 needed off 18 balls, all that Warriorz hoped was to get closer to the total. In the end, they got over the total and had a ball to spare, and Alyssa Healy described Grace Harris’ destructive innings in the most fitting fashion.
“Grace is Grace, that's the only way to describe her. She has shown the world what she can do,” said Healy.
What Delhi would be hoping is for god to save them from that Grace. But interestingly in Meg Lanning, Delhi have a captain who knows the destructive ability of Harris really well. It would be a battle of Australia’s best captain vs her deputy, Healy.
Delhi know that they put on a 10/10 performance against RCB in their tournament opener but against Warriorz, who have a power-packed unit, their task could be well cut out.
Things to watch out for
Tahlia McGrath needs some time in the middle
Tahlia McGrath is the No.1 ranked batter in Women’s T20I rankings but it is fair to see that her role as a batter has been minimised in the last few months. Since the start of the T20 World Cup, the right-hander has only batted on four occasions in seven clashes. Barring the 57 that she made against South Africa Women in the group stage encounter, the 27-year-old has rarely been tasked to showcase her skills with the bat.
In some ways or the other, that reflected in Warriorz’ opening encounter, where McGrath was undone for a duck on a surface that had runs. While she might definitely consider herself unlucky, it is no secret that McGrath needs some time in the middle. If she starts firing, it might just become impossible to catch up with the Warriorz
How can Warriorz plan out for Delhi’s strong batting unit?
While Warriorz definitely have a great team, they will have their task cut out containing the fire-power in the form of Delhi Capitals’ batting. Capitals’ have a near-perfect batting unit, if Shafali Verma doesn’t fire, there is Meg Lanning. If not for the Australian skipper, there is the Proteas superstar, Marizanne Kapp. And even if you go past that, there is Jemimah Rodrigues, and just in case you are happy removing all of them, chances are that Alice Capsey might capsize your party.
So, how do you bowl? One of Shafali’s weak points is the ball that is bowled in the good length (6-8 m), with seven dismissals. And that has also been one of the tougher places for the likes of Jemimah and Lanning. That’s where McGrath will have a bigger task at hand, against the Capitals. It will be of utmost importance for the Warriorz to get off to a good start, and they could throw the new ball to McGrath and Deepti Sharma from the other end.
What’s it with Harris and does she get out?
Neither do the Gujarat Giants nor do I know how Grace Harris could be dismissed. But one certain – history – knows where the bowlers have to bowl to the dangerous Australian. In an ideal world, Harris would want to bat higher than what she did the other night, against Giants. But it is all about nailing the role to the T, and thus far, Warriorz have done exactly that. In the first ten balls, the right-hander only scored nine but since then, teed off in such a fashion that left the Giants gasping for breath.
Lanning certainly knows the upsides of having Harris, and so should she know the downsides of having Harris in the opponents’ side. There is only one type of bowling that Harris averages less than 24 – Left-arm pace – and that’s exactly where Tara Norris could walk in. She was at her monstrous best against RCB and Lanning would most likely throw the ball to Norris as soon as Grace walks out to bat.
Pitch and conditions
Thus far only two matches have been played at the DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai, and both of them have been high-scoring encounters. Mumbai Indians kicked-off the carnage at the venue, scoring 207 in the very first game. UP Warriorz then, in the second game at the venue chased down 175, thanks to the brilliance from Harris.
So, expect it to be yet another batting paradise. Having said that, there will be help for the bowlers, as Kim Garth and Nat Sciver Brunt have found out thus far. 16 wickets have been picked by pacers while the spinners have picked up 11 wickets. There is definite help for the bowlers but that will require them to bowl at the right channel. But generally, it is a venue where runs do flow.
- It is a well-known ploy that Shafali suffers against the short-ball and pacers up-front, so UP Warriorz might have to be very careful about how they go about things. That’s where the role of McGrath becomes even more integral, with the right-arm pacer capable of troubling Verma, and in turn jolting the Delhi Capitals up front. 16 out of the 28 dismissals against pacers have been in the 6-8 m length, and her strike-rate is just 122, but if you go short, that drops down to 54.
- Delhi Capitals could consider bowling spinner, Jess Jonassen early on to Alyssa Healy. The left-arm spinner has got her out twice, and Healy has a strike rate of 120.1, the lowest for her against a bowling type. The wicket-keeper batter is known to be vulnerable to away going deliveries early in her innings.
Expect the Warriorz’ to remain unchanged after their stunning win in their opener against the Gujarat Giants
UP Warriorz’ Probable XI: Alyssa Healy (c & wk), Shweta Sehrawat, Tahlia McGrath, Deepti Sharma, Grace Harris, Simran Shaikh, Kiran Navgire, Devika Vaidya, Sophie Ecclestone, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Delhi Capitals might consider making a chance, to bring in someone like Titas Sadhu to replace Shikha Pandey, just to infuse more energy into the setup with the ball
Delhi Capitals’ Probable XI: Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning (c), Marizanne Kapp, Jemimah Rodrigues, Alice Capsey, Jess Jonassen, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Arundhati Reddy, Shikha Pandey/Titas Sadhu, Radha Yadav, Tara Norris