Grace, Tahlia knocks take UP Warriorz into playoffs after win over Gujarat Giants in thriller

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MUMBAI: UP Warriorz clinched the third and final playoff spot after half-centuries from Grace Harris and Tahlia McGrath helped them achieve a three-wicket win over Gujarat Giants in a last-over thriller during the Women’s Premier League (WPL) match at Brabourne Stadium on Monday.

With this, UP Warriorz are at third position in the points table with four wins and three losses and a total of eight points. Gujarat Giants,  on the other hand, are at the bottom with two wins and six losses. They have only two points and have finished their campaign. Notably, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is also out of the tournament.

In the chase of 179, UP Warriorz got off to a horrible start. Monica Patel opened Gujarat’s wicket tally by getting the big scalp of skipper Alyssa Healy for 12 off eight balls. UPW were at 14/1. Kim Garth and Tanuja Kanwar took the next two wickets, dismissing Kiran Navgire (4) and Devika Vaidya (7) for single-digit scores, reducing UPW to 39/3 in 4.5 overs.

At the end of the powerplay in six overs, UPW were at 52/3, with Tahlia McGrath (27*) and Grace Harris (0*) unbeaten on the crease. The duo started to build a partnership of sorts and took UPW through the first half of the inning without any loss of wicket. At the end of 10 overs, UPW were 82/3, with Tahlia McGrath (41*) and Grace Harris (16*) unbeaten. The two eventually brought up their 50-run stand.

Tahlia brought up her third 50 of the WPL, continuing her red-hot form. She scored 50 in just 34 balls. The 78-run stand between Gardner and Harris was done away after Ashleigh Gardner dismissed Tahlia for 57 off 38 balls, consisting of 11 fours. UPW were 117/4 in 13.4 overs. Sneh Rana took a good catch.

This brought vice-captain Deepti Sharma to the crease, who also departed for two runs after being dismissed by Rana, who got help from Gardner’s safe hands near the mid-on region. Half of the UPW lineup was inside the pavilion for 130 runs at the end of 15 overs. UPW needed 49 in the final five overs.

Grace Harris played yet another clutch innings for UPW, bringing up her second 50 of WPL in 32 balls. She started to build a partnership with Sophie Ecclestone. The duo brought down the equation to 19 in the final two overs.

After bringing her team to the brink of victory, Grace Harris departed for 72 off 41 balls consisting of seven fours and four sixes. UPW were at 172/6 in 18.5 overs at that time. She was dismissed by Kim Garth and caught by Harleen near the boundary.

The equation came down to seven runs needed in the final over. Simran Shaikh was run out for just one run on the fourth ball, leaving UPW needing two runs in two balls. UPW finished at 181/7 in 19.5 overs with a winning four from Ecclestone (19*).

Garth was the pick of the bowlers for Gujarat Giants, taking 2/29. Monica, Tanuja, Gardner and Rana took a wicket each.

Earlier, half-centuries from Ashleigh Gardner and Dayalan Hemalatha helped Gujarat Giants reach a challenging 178/6 in their 20 overs. After electing to bat first, Gujarat Giants were off to a solid start. Openers Sophia Dunkley and Laura Wolvaardt rotated the strike well and hit some big shots as well.

Anjali Sarvani produced the breakthrough for UP Warriorz. She dismissed in-form Laura for 17. Laura was looking good after striking a four and two sixes. The batter was late in her attempt to strike the ball and it went through her stumps. The 41-run stand for the opening wicket was broken and GG were 41/1 in 4.1 overs.

In the next over, spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad pushed Gujarat further into trouble, dismissing a dangerous-looking Dunkley for 23, which came off 12 balls. Anjali did the job as a catcher, taking a good catch at short third man. GG crossed the 50-run mark in 5.4 overs. On the final ball of the over, Gayakwad got her second wicket after Harleen Deol was caught for just four at cover by Simran Shaikh. At the end of six overs of the powerplay, GG were at 50/3, with Dayalan Hemalatha (5*) unbeaten at the crease.

Dayalan was joined by Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner and both started to build a partnership. GG crossed the 100-run mark in 11.3 overs. Gardner and Dayalan brought up their 50-run stand in 33 balls, with help of a sixer from Gardner.

The 12th over by Sophie Ecclestone gave away 15 runs, including two fours and a six by Gardner and took the score to 105/3 in 12 overs, with Dayalan (35*) and Gardner (25*) unbeaten at the crease.

The duo continued to find boundaries and sixes easily and brought GG back into the game after some early wickets. At the end of 15 overs, GG were at 129/3, with Dayalan (45*) and Gardner (38*) unbeaten at the crease. Dayalan brought up her half-century in just 30 balls, the knock consisting of five fours and three sixes.

The U-19 T20 WC winner Parshavi Chopra got her first wicket, dismissing Hemalatha for 57 of 33 balls with six fours and three sixes after she was caught by Tahlia McGrath. GG were 143/4 at this stage and the 93-run stand between Gardner and Hemalatha was over. Gujarat Giants crossed the 150-run mark in 16.5 overs. Gardner reached her half-century, her second in the tournament, in 35 balls after hitting Deepti Sharma for a four and a six.

Parshavi picked her second wicket, dismissing Gardner for 60 of 39 balls. The innings included six fours and three sixes. Half of the GG line-up was inside the hut for 166 runs in 18.1 overs. Sophie Ecclestone picked up her first wicket, dismissing Ashwani Kumari for just 5. GG were 177/6 in 19.4 overs.

Gujarat Giants finished their innings at 178/6, with Sushma Verma (8*) and Kim Garth (1*) unbeaten at the crease. Parshavi was the pick of the bowlers for GG, taking 2/29 in her four overs, while Rajeshwari also took 2/39 in four overs. Sophie and Anjali also took a wicket each.

Brief scores: Gujarat Giants: 178/6 (Ashleigh Gardner 60, Dayalan Hemlatha 57, Parshavi Chopra 2/29) lost to UP Warriorz: 181/7 (Grace Harris 72, Tahlia McGrath 57, Kim Garth 2/29). (ANI)

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