WPL 2024: Gujarat Giants Secure First Win with Dominant Mooney-Wolvaardt Partnership

Gujarat Giants marked their first triumph in the WPL season, propelled by an outstanding opening performance from Beth Mooney and Laura Wolvaardt.

Giants get off to a good start after four straight losses thanks to a 140-run stand by the openers.

WPL 2024: Gujarat Giants Secure First Win with Dominant Mooney-Wolvaardt Partnership

Royal Challengers Bangalore 180 for 7 (Wareham 48, Gardner 2-23) lost to Gujarat Giants 199 for 5 (Mooney 85*, Wolvaardt 76, Molineux 1-32) by 19 runs.

After four losses in Bengaluru, the Gujarat Giants‘ victory in their WPL opener in Delhi was the result of five strikes. The Giants, who defied the Chinnaswamy chasing tendency by opting to bat first and amassing the second-highest total in their WPL history owing to their opening century stand, found success with the new stadium.
Even though the middle order collapsed, Laura Wolvaardt and Beth Mooney put on 140 for the first wicket and challenged Royal Challengers Bangalore to the most successful 200-run chase in WPL history.

That was their team, if any squad was fit for the job. When RCB defeated the Giants 189 runs in the previous season, Sophie Devine scored 99 runs from the opening position and appeared to be eager to do so again. With RCB on 42 for 2, Devine, batting at No. 4, was at the crease two balls into the powerplay. After putting them in a strong position at 76 for 2, she was dismissed by left-arm spinner Tanuja Kanwar, leaving the RCB middle order to complete the task.

Georgia Wareham, who struck 48 off 22, and Richa Ghosh shared a stand of 33. However, Richa Ghosh played a spirited hand, scoring 30 off 20 balls, but he skied an Ash Gardner full toss to Meghna Singh at cover, thereby ending RCB’s chances. With three league games remaining, the Giants will now have their first point and can move on to the knockout round.

After the Bengaluru leg of the competition, the Giants’ biggest issue was running out of runs. They had no individual scores of fifty or more, nor any top-order partnerships of more than fifty runs (Ash Gardner and Phoebe Litchfield had a 52-run fourth-wicket stand versus UP Warriorz). On their first trip to Delhi, they proved both of those to be correct.

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For the second time in the last three games, Mooney and Wolvaardt’s opening combination proved effective. They reached 50 off 27 balls in the fifth over, with Wolvaardt leading the attack and Mooney collecting the most runs, after scoring 40 against Warriorz. There won’t be more than fifty opening stands in 2023, making theirs the only opening stand in Giants history to last over 50 years. With a spectacular straight shot past Ellyse Perry, Wolvaardt went on to register the first fifty by a Giants hitter this year, and their stand rose to 140, the highest in the Giants’ history, off just 32 balls.

Bisht and RCB versus the umpires

After Wolvaardt was removed for 76, RCB had a chance to retake the innings, and the two overs only cost them 15 runs. However, upon Devine’s return and a further 15 runs lost in her third over, left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht found herself under pressure. Mooney was unable to get the second ball away after hitting the first one clean past her for four. When Mooney attempted a reverse sweep for the third and missed, Bisht loudly called for lbw, but the call was turned down.

RCB examined. Mooney had inside-edged onto her front pad, according to replays. The following ball was maintained full by Bisht; Phoebe Litchfield attempted to scoop but was unsuccessful; RCB appealed once more but were turned down. Upon further analysis, RCB observed that the ball was pitching outside of leg. Subsequently, Smriti Mandhana was disqualified by the same umpire during the chase after she failed to pull off Gardner and checked the call. Jayapal was correct once more when replays revealed the ball was striking the leg stump.

RCB Dominated the Later Parts of the Game

The RCB fielded with determination despite Mooney’s assault, and when Mooney called Litchfield through for a false single in the penultimate over, Mandhana was fast to reply. In time to catch Litchfield out of her crease and run her out for eighteen, her toss to Richa Ghosh was intercepted. The hard-hitting Gardner was promoted by the Giants to No. 4 and she smashed her first ball to Simran Bahadur at long off, which resulted in a duck.

To end the over, Wareham gave up a single, two wides, and two runs. The last over began with Mooney off the strike. D Hemalatha tried to hit Sophie Molineux through the in-field, but she missed and was stumped. After four balls, Mooney was in the face once more as she called Veda Krishnamurthy through for a single after hitting the ball to point. Veda became the third Giants batter to be run out since she was never going to be able to hold her ground. With two overs that cost them just 12 runs and produced four wickets, RCB ended the innings.

Mooney regains her own self

Mooney made up for it by finishing a run-out in the RCB innings. She was on strike for all three of the Giants’ run-outs, and it was her calls that put her partners in difficult situations. Meghna Singh was about to give S Meghana another go when she took on Wolvaardt’s arm and appeared to be in difficulty all the time. Not long after the powerplay, Mooney received the throw and ripped the bails off to give the Giants a decisive lead.

Mayhem of Wareham at the death

RCB’s dreams of victory were most likely dashed when Wareham made the decision to have some fun. Her team required 71 off 24 balls after she had just watched Ghosh get out, and Tanuja Kanwar produced a delectable full toss on an offstump that she was unable to resist.

For her first six and the sixth of the RCB innings, Wareham cleared the front leg and blasted the ball over deep mid-wicket. RCB concluded with eight sixes when she blasted one more off Meghna over wide long on. This is a fascinating number given that Giants only managed one six but lost the game.

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