Harmanpreet’s Mumbai Indians seals a playoffs berth in style

Going ballistic: Harmanpreet hammered seven fours and two sixes in what proved a match-swinging knock. 

Going ballistic: Harmanpreet hammered seven fours and two sixes in what proved a match-swinging knock. 

Sometimes, some teams find ways to beat even the law of averages.

Mumbai Indians is doing that in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League, in front of its adoring fans, who never stopped cheering them on at the top of their voices at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Harmanpreet Kaur-led team stormed to its fifth win in a row, clinching a playoffs berth with three matches still remaining.

Mumbai Indians thrashed Gujarat Giants by 55 runs, after posting 162 for eight. Its innings was stifled a bit by what was possibly the finest show of fielding thus far at the WPL, as the Giants women flung themselves to stop the ball and plucked catches out of thin air.

Such catches normally win matches. But, not against this MI side.

Harmanpreet yet again led from the front. She played some delectable shots in her 30-ball 51 (7×4, 2×6). And Yastika Bhatia (44, 37b, 5×4, 1×6) earlier provided impetus at the start of the innings.

She once again showcased her wide array of shots, before she ran herself out, not entirely unexpectedly. Before that, she had stitched together a stand of 74 for the second wicket with Nat Sciver-Brunt (36, 31b, 5×4, 1×6).

For Giants, Harleen Deol stood out even on a night when many of her teammates fielded superbly. She sprinted across and took a two-handed diving catch at wide long-on.

An over before, she had run Humaira Kazi out with a direct hit from the deep. Earlier, Kim Garth had taken a blinder, running back from near the circle on the off to send back Amelia Kerr (19, 13b, 2×4) off left-arm spinner Tanuja Kanwar.

The Giants’ chase got off to a disastrous start, with Sophia Dunkley falling lbw to Sciver-Brunt, off the first ball of the innings. And the chase never got going. No Giants batter reached 25.

Purple Cap wearer Saika Ishaque went wicketless for the first time for MI, but that hardly mattered. The other bowlers put their hands up, as is often the case with quality sides.

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