Three teams, two matches. The Women’s Premier League has finally come down to that, after 20 days of intense action.
Mumbai Indians and UP Warriorz face off at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Friday in the Eliminator, to determine which side will earn the right to take on Delhi Capitals in the final. Capitals moved straight into Sunday’s final after finishing on top of the table in the league phase, a double round-robin affair involving five teams.
At just past the halfway stage, MI had looked the likeliest team to take that direct berth: it had won all its five games. Its great run was stopped by Warriorz, at this very venue.
The formidable bunch of Warriorz spinners had played a big role in MI’s first defeat in the tournament. Sophie Ecclestone, the Word No. 1 T20I bowler from England had done the most damage in that game. The left-arm spinner was well backed by the off-spin of Deepti Sharma and Rajeswhari Gayakwad, another slow left-armer.
There are even more options for Warriorz in the spin department, headed by the purple-cap wearing Ecclestone. The world’s No. 1 T20I batter, Tahlia McGrath, also sports the Warriorz jersey. She has four fifties from seven innings. The MI attack will have to contend with more of the Australian batting might in the form of captain Alyssa Healy and the hard-hitting Grace Harris (if she is fit).
MI will be hoping that its inspirational captain Harmanpreet Kaur produces another big knock in another crucial match. Openers Hayley Matthews and Yastika Bhatia and all-rounders Amelia Kerr and Nat Sciver-Brunt too have had some good outings.
MI should be pleased that left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque has returned to her wicket-taking habit. Kerr’s leg-spin has been rather effective, as has Matthews’ off-spin. Seamers Sciver-Brunt and Issy Wong have been amongst the wickets, too.
Match starts at 7.30 p.m.