WPL 2024: Sajana smashes last-ball six as Mumbai Indians

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The Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 kicked off in dramatic fashion with a last-ball thriller between the defending champions, Mumbai Indians (MI), and the Delhi Capitals (DC) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru live at tigerexch. In a nail-biting finish, a six from the young all-rounder S. Sajana sealed a four-wicket victory for MI, leaving the Delhi Capitals heartbroken after a valiant fight.

Capitals Set a Challenging Target

Put into bat first, Delhi Capitals got off to a decent start thanks to contributions from opener Alice Capsey (75 off 53 balls) and skipper Meg Lanning (31 off 25 balls). The duo shared a crucial 64-run stand for the second wicket, providing a solid foundation for the middle order.  Jemimah Rodrigues (32 off 27 balls) chipped in with a valuable knock, but wickets began to fall at regular intervals thereafter.  Arundhati Reddy (2/22) and Alice Capsey (2/18) were the pick of the bowlers for MI, restricting the Capitals to a total of 171/5 in their allotted 20 overs.

MI Chase Falters, But Harmanpreet Kaur Provides Hope

Chasing a challenging target, MI’s innings got off to a shaky start with opener Hayley Matthews dismissed for a duck in the first over by Marizanne Kapp.  However, the experienced duo of Yastika Bhatia (57 off 45 balls) and Natalie Sciver-Brunt (28 off 21 balls) steadied the ship, stitching together a 50-run partnership in the Powerplay. Their solid foundation laid the groundwork for a potential chase.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s Heroics Almost Seal the Deal

Following the dismissal of Sciver-Brunt, the onus fell on skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (55 off 34 balls) to lead the charge. The ‘Lady with the Golden Arm’ lived up to her reputation, playing a captain’s knock filled with powerful boundaries and audacious strokeplay.  She found support from Pooja Vastrakar (18 off 14 balls) in a crucial partnership that brought MI within touching distance of victory. However, a flurry of wickets towards the end of the innings put pressure on MI, leaving them needing 12 runs from the final over.

Last-Ball Six Seals the Deal for MI

With six needed off the last ball, the spotlight fell on the young and uncapped S. Sajana. Stepping in for the first time in the match, Sajana displayed nerves of steel.  She connected cleanly with a yorker-length delivery from Alice Capsey, sending the ball soaring over long-on for a match-winning six. The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium erupted in a roar as MI secured a dramatic victory in the first match of the WPL season.

A Tense Finish and a Last-Ball Thriller

The dismissal of Harmanpreet with just 12 runs required in two overs shifted the momentum towards Delhi. The pressure mounted further when Pooja Vastrakar fell off the first ball of the final over, bowled by Capsey. With six runs needed and just one wicket remaining, all eyes turned to the young S. Sajana, who was yet to bat in the match.

Sajana: From Unknown to Hero

Sajana’s last-ball six not only sealed the win for MI but also announced her arrival on the big stage.  Picked up by MI for a relatively low price of INR 15 lakh in the WPL auction, Sajana, the Kerala all-rounder, proved her worth with a moment of brilliance under immense pressure.  Her knock has sparked excitement among fans and showcased the depth of talent present in the WPL.

Sajana’s Heroics Highlight Depth in Mumbai’s Squad

Sajana’s last-ball six not only sealed a dramatic win for Mumbai but also highlighted the depth and resilience within their squad. While the established stars like Harmanpreet and Bhatia laid the foundation, it was an unexpected hero who stepped up on the biggest stage. This victory serves as a reminder that the WPL is a platform where young talent can shine and make a name for themselves.

A Match of Ups and Downs

The opening match of the WPL was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Delhi Capitals, despite setting a competitive total, will be left feeling disappointed after failing to close out the game 365 live .  Their bowling attack, especially in the death overs, lacked control, allowing MI back into the contest. For MI, the win will be a huge morale booster, especially considering the absence of some key players like  injured wicket-keeper batter, Beth Mooney.  However, their over-reliance on senior players like Harmanpreet Kaur is an area they will need to address moving forward.

A Fitting Start to the WPL

The last-ball thriller between MI and DC is a perfect example of the exciting and unpredictable nature of the WPL.  The match showcased a blend of established stars and emerging talents, highlighting the immense potential of the women’s game.  With more such nail-biting encounters on the horizon, the WPL promises to be a captivating tournament that will keep fans glued to their screens.

Delhi Capitals Left to Rue Missed Opportunities

Despite posting a competitive total, Delhi Capitals will be disappointed not to have secured victory. Their bowlers, particularly Capsey and Reddy, displayed impressive control, but their inability to defend a seemingly manageable target in the final over overshadowed their good work.

WPL 2024: A Platform for Women’s Cricket

The WPL 2024 is not just about on-field action; it’s also a significant step forward for women’s cricket id. The league provides a platform for aspiring female cricketers to showcase their talent on the biggest stage, inspiring a new generation of players. Additionally, it gives established stars like Harmanpreet Kaur and Meg Lanning the opportunity to lead by example and mentor young players like Sajana.

Looking Ahead: More Thrilling Encounters Await

With the opening match setting the bar high, fans can expect a thrilling and unpredictable WPL season.  Other teams, including the likes of UP Warriorz and Gujarat Giants, will be eager to make their mark on the competition. The upcoming matches promise more nail-biting finishes, strategic battles between captains, and the continued rise of WPL’s new stars.

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