WPL 2024: Gujarat Giants Secure Nail-Biting Victory to Keep Playoff Dreams Alive

In a thrilling cricket encounter, Gujarat Giants secured a crucial victory over UP Warriorz, thanks to Beth Mooney’s stellar 74* and Shabnam Shakil’s remarkable bowling display.

As the rivalry heats up, the victory maintains the Giants‘ prospects of securing a postseason position alive.

WPL 2024: Gujarat Giants Secure Nail-Biting Victory to Keep Playoff Dreams Alive

UP Warriorz 144 for 5 (Deepti 88*, Khemnar 36*, Shabnam 3-11) were defeated by Gujarat Giants 152 for 8 (Mooney 74*, Wolvaardt 43, Ecclestone 3-38) by eight runs.

After the lead fluctuated throughout the game, the Giants’ victory margin was their narrowest and they had only won four times in the previous two seasons.
Giants got off to a strong start with to a partnership of 60 runs in eight overs between Laura Wolvaardt and Beth Mooney, but a mini-collapse left them hovering around 73 for 3. After 18 overs, the middle order was pressed by Warriorz spinners, leaving them at 120 for 7, but Mooney’s unbeaten 74 helped the Giants record a competitive 152.

Warriorz seemed absolutely out of the match at 4 for 3 and then 35 for 5, but Deepti Sharma’s third consecutive half-century brought them back into contention. She and Poonam Khemnar established a 109-run partnership, and if she batted to the very last over, she might have pulled off a spectacular heist. Warriorz fell by just eight runs despite needing 18 off the final five balls, but their problems go much beyond their hitting.

Ball-by-ball statistics from ESPNcricinfo show that Warriorz have dropped 16 catches overall in the competition, including two in this match. Mooney finished on 74* after being knocked down on 42 and 50. He was the reason the Giants were able to score 152 in the end, rather than likely being limited to 120.

Warriorz found it quite annoying when she let her off, and leading wicket-taker Sophie Ecclestone was not shy about voicing her disapproval. During the inning break, she expressed her wish to the broadcaster that her team may occasionally catch the ball.

Since they were unable to, Warriorz will need to pray that the Delhi Capitals defeat the Giants on Thursday and the Royal Challengers Bangalore lose to the Mumbai Indians by a significant margin on Tuesday in order for them to have a chance to advance to the Eliminator. Giants, on the other side, need to defeat Royal Challengers handily in their last game in order to win.

WPL 2024: Gujarat Giants Secure Nail-Biting Victory to Keep Playoff Dreams Alive

The Amazing Wolvaardt

There’s no better testament to Wolvaardt’s confidence as a T20 player than her relationship with Mooney in this particular match. She maintained the strike for the majority of the opening five overs and quickly reached 32 off 21 balls, interspersed with some of her trademark cover drives as well as some more forceful ones. Mooney was reduced to 8 off 9.

Subsequently, during the last over of the powerplay, Wolvaardt proceeded down the track and struck Rajeshwari Gayakwad over mid-off with a six that was so spectacular that Mooney was left speechless at oppo. Wolvaardt proceeded to score 43 off of 30 before being stumped by Ecclestone after going too far in taking the proactive approach and being well outside her crease.

Spinners Made a Come Back but Fielding Disappoint

Dayalan Hemalatha was enticed by Chamari Athapaththu into an expansive drive four balls after Ecclestone’s breakthrough. She went for it without putting her feet in the air and edged out to Alyssa Healy. After that, Deepti caught Phoebe Litchfield at long on after two overs. Giants were largely silent for the following seven overs after losing three wickets for 13 runs.

They were 120 for 7 after 18 overs, but Mooney was still there after being dropped. Warriorz made costly fielding blunders throughout the competition, but none more so than when Mooney chipped Ecclestone to Shweta Sehrawat at extra cover, who was unable to hold on. Mooney at the moment was on 42. Mooney blasted Deepti to deep midwicket in the subsequent over, at 50, and Khemnar wasted an easy opportunity.

WPL 2024: Gujarat Giants Secure Nail-Biting Victory to Keep Playoff Dreams Alive

Shabnam Shakil Showed Her Skills

Shabnam Shakil, who is 16 years old, was mistaken if she believed that her maiden WPL wicket would be Nat Sciver-Brunt. She added two additional players to her list, both in the same over, two days after benching one of the top players in the game.

Shakil bowled first in defense of 152, and Healy hammered her first ball through backward point for four. But her second ball offered less breadth, and Healy was unable to get the drive away. Shakil then made a strike. Attempting to force Shakil off the ground too soon, Healy skied her to mid-off, where Mannat Kashyap made a nice catch.

Athapaththu was Shakil’s next task, and she was prepared for it. After being made to defend the first ball, Athapaththu got hit by the second one. Warriorz were 4 for 2 in the opening over as Athapaththu, fuming, swung at the final ball of the over and hit it to Ash Gardner at extra cover. Following the powerplay, Shakil returned to bowl Sehrawat, finding off stump with a delivery that nipped back and beat the outside edge.

Deepti Continued to Fight tiil the End

Warriorz may criticize a lot of their performance, but Deepti is one player they should be proud of.

Deepti provided the batting some respectability with her third consecutive fifty after her heroics in the match-winning victory against the Capitals on Friday and her 2 for 22 performance against the Giants, which made her the Warriorz’s most economical bowler of the evening.

Not only does she score runs at a rapid speed and pace an innings through the middle overs, but she also demonstrated some tactical acumen in this game. Deepti exploited the short boundary, kept herself in striking position, and extended the game. Not only were her two sixes in the last over the highlight of her knock, but they also saw her pass Meg Lanning as the tournament’s top run scorer thus far.

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