DC are coming in on the back of a tightly fought win against RCB. With a playoffs’ spot all but sealed, they would want to use the upcoming games to iron out the chinks in their armor. Their batting order seems to be well set, with everyone having spent decent time in the middle. What also helps is that they have had meaningful contributions from everyone in their top 6.
It’s their bowling that they would be a bit more worried about. The five-fors from Marizanne Kapp and Tara Norris, and Shikha Pandey’s recent resurgence have helped them keep the spotlight away from their spinners. But, it’ll be hard to do that at the spin-friendly Brabourne. Their spinners have taken the least wickets of all teams, and this is something they would want to correct.
On the other hand, GG have regularly been topping the list of most questionable selections. After Sophia Dunkley’s match winning performance, they decided to drop her for Laura Wolvaardt. And then they dropped her back for Dunkley in their last game, who ended up getting out for a golden duck. All of this while persisting with Sutherland as a primary bowling option in four of their five games.
Mansi Joshi has featured in all of their games, and has still bowled only four overs. In fact, her only notable performance was preventing GG from being bundled out a second time against MI, while batting at #11. Add Ashleigh Gardner’s lack of form and Beth Mooney’s injury to that, and the miseries just seem to pile on.
Pitch and conditions
The first half saw most teams enjoying the track at Brabourne. While the occasional did grip, it was more or less a true surface. And spinners did do better job of limiting run scoring. However, if the last match was anything to go by, spinners will be licking their lips at the prospect of bowling here.
In Brabourne, spinners average 23 and take a wicket every 17 balls, while pacers average 42 and take a wicket every 28 balls.
DC & GG are the only teams to score 200+ here. The battle between DC’s batters and GG’s spinners will be one to look out for.
In the six games played here, teams defending & chasing have won three games apiece.
Things to watch out for
DC’s batters have been the best at maximizing the powerplay. They have scored at 9.6 RPO & average 57.4, the best amongst all teams on both counts. Meanwhile, GG’s bowlers have really struggled to get the early breakthroughs. They have been the most expensive bowling unit, and have only 6 wickets to show for. Only UPW have taken lesser wickets.
GG’s selection muddle
The see-sawing of players at the top means that no one has regularly opened the batting for GG, barring Meghana. Their best bet would be to drop the underwhelming Sutherland for Laura Wolvaardt, and open her with Sophia Dunkley. Two proven match-winners at the top could help them solve their powerplay batting issues.
With GG having an RHB heavy batting lineup, this is probably the best time to give Poonam Yadav some game time. They could make a horses-for-courses swap with Arundhati Reddy, who’s bowled just the solitary over in the three games she’s played.
As good as Meg Lanning has been in WPL, all of her dismissals have come against spinners. She’ll be wary of that, especially with the likes of Ashleigh Gardner, Tanuja Kanwar and Sneh Rana in the opposition ranks. Expect her to be exposed to spin early on in the innings.
GG’s batters have failed to convert their starts into big ones. They have only two fifties to their name, the lowest for any team this season. Kapp and Pandey have been in great rhythm with the new ball, and S Meghana has been woefully out of form. She’s breached the double digit mark just twice, and averages just 10 while striking at a below par 102.
Brabourne being the venue, DC will most likely bring in an extra spinner to shore up their reserves.
Predicted XI: Meg Lanning (C), Shafali Verma, Marizanne Kapp, Jemimah Rodrigues, Alice Capsey, Jess Jonassen, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Minnu Mani/Poonam Yadav, Tara Norris
With such an unsettled XI, it’s hard to predict the backroom staff’s mindset. But, GG should look to strengthen their batting, and replacing Sutherland should their first course of action. Bringing in Wolvaardt means Meghana will have to miss out. They can either go their preferred all-rounder route and bring in Hurley Gala/Ashwani Kumari, or they can bring in a four over option like Monica Patel. Her left arm angle will also help them add some variety to their attack.
Laura Wolvaardt, Sophia Dunkley, Harleen Deol, Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sneh Rana (C), Sushma Verma (WK), Hurley Gala/Ashwani Kumar, Kim Garth, Mansi Joshi, Tanuja Kanwar