Anirudh Kasargod
17 Mar 2023 | 07:53 PM

Warriorz need dynamic effort to topple Mumbai’s consistency

While the Mumbai Indians have qualified, all the other four teams are in contention for the playoffs

Only six matches are left in the league stage. Apart from Mumbai Indians, no other team has found consistency, which is why, in the race for the playoffs, all other four teams have an outside chance. Whereas, Mumbai have already confirmed their spot with 10 points.

Speaking about consistency, the 15th match of the Women’s Premier League is between a team that has had max consistency and another that has had mixed consistency. Well, we don’t have to mention who is the team with max.

The other team we are talking about is UP Warriorz. At times, they have shown glimpses of brilliance, their win against Gujarat Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore were examples of it. However, in the reverse fixture against Bangalore and Gujarat, they failed to repeat their heroics. Looking at the symmetry, can they defeat the invincible Mumbai? They had lost against them in their reverse fixture.

As for Mumbai, it is just a matter of one win. If they win in their fixture against UP, it is almost certain that they will remain on top, and qualify for the finals of the inaugural edition. The way their players are coming to the party, that is entirely possible.

Things to watch out for

UP’s Indian batters needs to contribute

Despite having so many stars in their side, the reason behind their inconsistency has been the gulf of difference in performance between the overseas and Indian batters.

A lot was expected of Deepti Sharma, Kiran Navgire and the young Indian U-19-star Shweta Sehrawat. In return, all of them have been toothless. Apart from her one half-century, Navgire hasn’t shown her might with the bat. Deepti and Shweta haven’t performed with the bat in any of their matches.

Overall, Indian batters have 256 runs at an average of 14.2 and a strike rate of 97.3. In comparison, the four overseas batters have scored 456 runs at an average of 46.8 and a staggering strike rate of 159.2. That’s massive underperformance from the Indian contingent. Out of the 724 runs scored by UP batters (excluding extras), the overseas batters have scored 64.6 percent of the runs.

Too much dependency on Deepti and Ecclestone

Sophie Ecclestone has been UP’s premium bowler this tournament. With nine wickets, she is the leading wicket-taker for them, and the joint-third most overall. Deepti might not have come good with the bat, but her skills with the ball have been commendable, alongside Ecclestone.

However, the other bowlers in the squad haven’t contributed to the cause. Apart from these two bowlers, none of them have more than three wickets. To emboss their problem more, Ecclestone and Deepti have picked up a wicket every 14.3 and 21.3 runs. Whereas, none of the other bowlers have an average lesser than 35.

Overall, Ecclestone and Deepti together, have bagged 16 wickets at an average of 17.4 and a strike rate of 14.4. These two have conceded at an economy of 7.2. The other bowlers have bagged nine wickets at an average of 58.7, a strike rate of 37.7, and economy of 9.3.

Mumbai bowlers creating an impact early on

Saika Ishaque has been a star for Mumbai in the first six overs with five wickets at an average of 12.4, a strike rate of 10.8 and an economy of 6.9. Among bowlers who have bowled five-plus overs in this phase, no bowler has a better strike rate than Saika.

Though Nat Sciver-Brunt and Isabelle Wong do not have wickets to their names, the pressure that they have built has led to Saika’s success. Sciver has an economy of 4.2 and Wong has conceded 5.1 runs/over, the best among bowlers who have bowled five-plus overs.

Altogether, Mumbai bowlers have 15 wickets at an economy of 5.8, an average of 11.7 and a strike rate of 12. By a fair distance, the best bowling team in the first six overs.

Pitch and conditions

In the 14 matches played in this tournament, both venues have seen an equal share of matches (7). All the seven matches played at DY Patil, were night games. The game between Mumbai and UP will be the first day game at this venue.

Albeit, the pitch looks to be wearing out. The number of 200+ totals have decreased, and 160 and 170s are looking like a threatening target. In the first three matches, teams were scoring at a run rate of 8.6. In any case, in the last four matches, the run rate has dried down to 7.2.

In those three matches, the ball was coming onto the bat, and the pacers were going for plenty of runs. The economy that was ranging around 8.5 for the pacers in the first three matches, has come down to 6.5.

Hence, the average first innings score which saw 196 in the first three matches, has come down to 124. Because of the low first innings totals, teams are easily chasing the targets, which is why, in all the last four matches, teams chasing have won the match.

Tactical Nous

-In two innings in WPL, Grace Harris has scored an unbeaten 59 of 26 balls, and a 32-ball 46 runs. In total, she has scored 105 runs at a strike rate of 181. However, she has been vulnerable in the first 10 balls. She starts her innings at a strike rate of 65. But, she picks up the speed immediately, and that too at an intensifying pace. After her first 10 balls, she has a strike rate of 242.6. The only breathing time for a bowler is when she is batting in her first 10 balls.

-Hayley Matthews has scored 168 runs at a strike rate of 140. But, there has been a very evident weakness in her batting. All her four dismissals in this WPL have been to spinners, and three of those have come against off-spinners. She averages 5.6 against the bowling type and strikes at 89.5.

Team Combination

Mumbai have been on a winning streak from the start. They found their perfect combination from the first match and they wouldn’t want to tinker with it until they confirm the top spot.

Probable XI: Yastika Bhatia (wk), Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Amelia Kerr, Isabelle Wong, Dhara Gujjar, Humaira Kazi, Amanjot Kaur, Jintimani Kalita, Saika Ishaque

UP Warriorz could look to bring in another under-19-star Parshavi Chopra. The leg break bowler picked up 11 wickets in the recent U-19 WC, and was the second-highest wicket-taker. This will strengthen their bowling, and moreover, Sehrawat has underperformed.

Probable XI: Alyssa Healy (c & wk), Devika Vaidya, Kiran Navgire, Tahlia McGrath, Grace Harris, Simran Shaikh, Deepti Sharma, Shweta Sehrawat/ Parshavi Chopra, Sophie Ecclestone, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad

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