The Mumbai skipper scored the first half-century of the new league as her 30-ball 65 blitzkrieg powered her team to a massive 207 for 5 after being sent in to bat first by her counterpart, Gujarat captain Beth Mooney.
As it happened: Gujarat Giants vs Mumbai Indians
Mumbai bowlers then ended Gujarat’s innings in the 16th over, bowling them out for just 64 in 15.1 overs to register a huge victory. Saika Ishaque (4 for 11) was the wrecker-in-chief for the Mumbai side, with Nat Sciver-Brunt (2/5) and Amelia Kerr (2/12) taking two wickets each.
Harmanpreet smashed 14 fours and scored her runs at an impressive strike rate of 216.67. Hayley Matthews (47) and Amelia Kerr (45 not out) also contributed handsomely for the Mumbai franchise.
The @ImHarmanpreet-led @mipaltan are off the mark in the #TATAWPL in style! #MI win the opening game against #GG… https://t.co/eCtwHjUymW
— Women’s Premier League (WPL) (@wplt20) 1677951962000
Gujarat’s run chase started on a worst possible note as Mooney retired hurt in the first over itself. Two balls later, No.3 batter Harleen Deol was dismissed for naught by Nat Sciver-Brunt. So, Gujarat virtually lost two wickets in the first over of their chase.
Gujarat were soon reduced to 5 for 3 in 2.3 overs after losing two more wickets in the next two overs, and it turned into 23/7 inside eight overs pretty soon.
Dayalan Hemalatha (29 not out) delayed the inevitable by adding 26 runs for the eighth wicket with Mansi Joshi (6) and 15 runs for the ninth wicket with Monica Patel (10). But they were already down and out by then.
For her incredible captain’s knock of 65(30), skipper @ImHarmanpreet bagged the Player of the Match award 👏👏 #GGvMI… https://t.co/Gd8ybJpjef
— Women’s Premier League (WPL) (@wplt20) 1677952903000
India and Mumbai captain Kaur added 89 runs from just 42 balls with New Zealand’s Kerr (45* from 24 balls, 6x4s, 1×6) after Matthews provided the initial fireworks.
Kaur’s innings was straight out of textbook for all the domestic players watching in her team, competition and beyond. She found gaps at will, connected the ball perfectly, and did not give a single chance to the opposition bowlers to capitalise.
But before Kaur’s onslaught, it was the aggressive West Indies batter Matthews who looked set to score the first fifty of the tournament but unfortunately fell just three runs short.
Matthews smoked 4 sixes and 3 fours to make 47 from 31 balls and added 54 runs for the second wicket with Nat Sciver-Brunt, an association that laid the platform for a strong first-innings total for the winning side.
England star Sciver-Brunt was in her elements on Saturday night as after smoking 5 fours for her 18-ball 23, she returned an opening spell of 2-0-5-2 that helped derail the Gujarat Giants off the track.
It was certainly a forgettable first outing for Gujarat Giants who did not have much to cheer about. After their bowlers were hammered all over the park for a grand total of 31 fours and 6 sixes by the Mumbai Indians, the wheels came off completely for them..
With the pounding received in the first half of the game, the matters became worse for the Gujarat Giants as soon as their chase began.
In the first over, Gujarat Giants’ captain and arguably the best batter in the side, Mooney retired hurt after facing only her third ball. She is believed to have injured her left knee after making a few paces for a run but deciding against it.
On the final delivery, Nat Sciver-Brunt drew the first blood getting Harleen Deol caught at deep third man for a two-ball duck.
Star-studded opening ceremony kicks off inaugural WPL
The England player returned in the third over to hurt Gujarat Giants further, this time cleaning up opening batter Sabbhineni Meghana for a 4-ball 2.
But before they lost Meghana, Gujarat Giants had suffered a huge blow in the form of Ashleigh Gardner, with Hayley Matthews taking a sharp catch at the first slip off the right-arm pacer Issy Wong to walk back for a golden duck.
Saika Ishaque removed Annabel Sutherland (6) in the fifth over, and returned in the seventh over of the innings to clean up Georgia Wareham (8), making the most of the pressure created by the impressive right-arm seamer Wong from the other end, who gave no room for scoring in her first spell (3-0-7-1).
The left-arm orthodox spinner Saika returned with 3.1-1-11-4.
The pair of Dayalan Hemlatha (29 not out) and Mansi Joshi (6) did their best to delay the inevitable, but Mumbai Indians completed the win with 29 balls to spare.
Earlier in the game, Gujarat Giants’ skipper Mooney decided to take up wicketkeeping duties — something which she hasn’t done regularly in her career — and invited Mumbai Indians to bat after winning the toss.
Mooney’s side made plenty of errors in the field, with the bowlers straying down the leg side more often than not in the first half and fielding poorly, which in a way highlighted the lack of time and opportunity that the WPL teams have got in the lead-up to the tournament.
But before all of that, WPL began with the familiar razzmatazz of a glittering opening ceremony featuring Bollywood actresses Kiara Advani and Kirti Sanon, who performed alongside singer AP Dhillon and the evening sky was lit up by spectacular fireworks.
(With Inputs from PTI)