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WPL: Sophie Ecclestone spins web, Grace Harris takes UP Warriorz to victory

Chasing 143, the Warriorz reached the target with 4.2 overs to spare and handed Gujarat Giants another defeat

Having started the 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL) with two losses, the UP Warriorz are finally finding their feet with their big names clicking as the tournament heads into the midway stage.

UP Warriorz’ Grace Harris plays a shot during a WPL 2024 match vs Gujarat Giants(PTI)

Sophie Ecclestone spun a web with the ball and Grace Harris went hammer and tongs with the bat as the Alyssa Healy-led outfit clinched their second successive win as they beat Gujarat Giants by six wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.

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Chasing 143, the Warriorz reached the target with 4.2 overs to spare as the Giants, who finished fifth and last in 2023, failed yet again to get off the mark in this edition. The Warriorz also ensured they remained unbeaten against the Giants in WPL.

Put in by Warriorz, Laura Wolvaardt (28 off 26) and skipper Beth Mooney (16 off 16), also the world No.1 T20I batter, gave the Giants a slow but steady start as spinner Chamari Athapaththu (4-0-19-0) kept them from scoring quickly with the first six overs yielding only 41 runs.

Warriorz bowlers put up a brilliant display, not allowing Giants to accelerate with left-arm orthodox bowler Ecclestone (3/20) coming out as the star performer. She spinner further put the brakes on Giants with two crucial wickets, removing both openers. Two new batters at the crease resulted in no boundaries from the eighth to 10th overs.

Harleen Deol (18 off 24) took time to settle down but the 27 minutes spent at the crease never translated into a big score as she perished getting caught as the pressure mounted.

Phoebe Litchfield (35 off 26) and Ashleigh Gardner (30 off 17) provided the impetus towards the end. The duo was able to stitch a fourth-wicket partnership of 52 (off 31) before Ecclestone once again displayed why she is the world No.1 bowler in both ODIs and T20Is as she removed Gardner. Litchfield too departed soon thanks to a brilliant direct hit from Saima Thakor.

Ecclestone would have bagged her fourth had Deepti Sharma not dropped Gardner at third man but that partnership was good enough to take Giants to 142/5 — their highest total in WPL 2024.

In response, skipper Alyssa Healy (33 off 21) provided the Warriorz a rapid start. Though they lost Kiran Navgire (12 off 8), Healy, Athapaththu (17 off 11) and Shweta Sehrawat (2 off 7), Australian Grace Harris (60 not out off 33) gave Warriorz the solidity they needed in the middle order with a fine knock.

Despite the wickets, first Healy and then Harris ensured the required rate always remained below six. Harris struck an important and unbeaten 53-run fifth-wicket partnership with Deepti Sharma (17 off 14) which took them over the line.


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