WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, 2023
UP Warriorz look to seal last remaining playoffs berth
by Purnima Malhotra • Last updated on Sun, Mar 19, 2023
UP Warriorz’s WPL 2023 campaign has ebbed and flowed. Three wins that have varied from lopsided contest to an edge-of-the-seat thriller have been punctuated by three losses of varying degrees as well. As such, they sit right in the middle separating the two dominant sides with a Q against their name already and the two most inconsistent ones who are currently seeking favours.
Funnily enough, with the latest set of ‘upsets’ the league has been seeing at the business end, UPW have a shot at topping the table as well as stand the chance of getting eliminated. Not just their own, the Warriorz hold the fate of others in their hands as well. Simply put, a win in any of their two remaining games will lock the last remaining knockouts berth of them while simultaneously eliminating the bottom-two – and that’s all the team’s focus would be on as they return to Brabourne for their reverse fixture against Gujarat Giants in Monday’s double-header.
With their dismal NRR of -2.51, Giants’ slim outside chance hinges on not just Warriorz’ misery in the two remaining games, but also a favour from MI in their final league game against RCB. And they need all of those to be decided by significant margins for them to make gains in NRR column. Virtually eliminated form this qualifications race, all Giants can do is focus on the controllables.
This will be Gujarat’s third straight game at the CCI and the last two have seen both a low-scoring thriller and a high-action chase. Giants defended a sub-par 147 against Delhi Capitals in a last-over finish to revive their playoffs scope before running into a rampaging Sophie Devine who made even a challenging total of 188 look pedestrian on Saturday.
Against UPW’s spin-heavy attack – they used 18/20 overs of spin in their win against Mumbai Indians – Giants will have to come up with an equally good batting show, if not better, and then hope there isn’t another equivalent of a Grace Harris heist from their previous clash to officially send them packing.
When: Monday, March 20 at 3:30 PM IST
Where: Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
What to expect: The pitch at the CCI seemed to have been restored to its default batting-friendly settings but there was a bit of initial swing and turn on offer. A partially cloudy day on the cards, but no rain predicted.
Gujarat Giants:Their batting order was questionable last game – moving an in-form Harleen Deol down to No.6 in favour of a low on confidence S Meghana – but Giants seem to have zeroed in on a combination that works for them. They could likely stick to the same XI.
Probable XI:Sophia Dunkley, Laura Wolvaardt, Harleen Deol, Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sabbhineni Meghana, Sushma Verma (wk), Sneh Rana (C), Ashwani Kumari/Hurley Gala, Kim Garth, Tanuja Kanwar
UP Warriorz:The only team to have beaten table-toppers Mumbai Indians so far, UPW might be tempted to retain the same side for this game. Shweta Sehrawat, since the two single-digit scores at the top, has been dropping down the order to now find herself out of the first-choice XI. Her replacement and another one from that U19 World Cup winning batch, Parshavi Chopra has impressed in her debut match and would likely continue to hold on to her spot.
Probable XI:Alyssa Healy (C & wk), Devika Vaidya, Kiran Navgire, Tahlia McGrath, Grace Harris, Deepti Sharma, Simran Shaikh, Sophie Ecclestone, Parshavi Chopra, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
What they said:
“I’ve had a good couple of weeks since the halfway point in the World Cup. I started not so great, but during that tournament we had a psychologist with us and I was talking a lot to her. We just spoke about controlling the controllables. And I feel like that’s kind of taken a lot of pressure off of me to know that I’ve done all of the work that I can do off of the field and on the field you can’t always control the results. So that mindset has helped me a bit lately, especially with these back to back tours and games just to take a bit of pressure off of myself and enjoy my batting” – Laura Wolvaardt on her recent good run for South Africa and Gujarat Giants.
“There’s no pressure as such, we’re taking it one match at a time. We are focusing on ourselves and not on what other teams are doing” – UPW vice-captain Deepti Sharma wants her team to keep it simple.