WPL 2024: Jemimah, Lanning fifties help Delhi kick off home-leg with 29-run win over Mumbai

Delhi Capitals did what Royal Challengers Bangalore had done before: kick off their current Women’s Premier League (WPL) season home leg on a high. In what was the first WPL match held at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, half-centuries by Jemimah Rodrigues and captain Meg Lanning set the base for Delhi’s 29-run win to end Mumbai’s perfect chasing record in the competition.

Delhi Capitals did what Royal Challengers Bangalore had done before: kick off their current Women’s Premier League (WPL) season home leg on a high. In what was the first WPL match held at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, half-centuries by Jemimah Rodrigues and captain Meg Lanning set the base for Delhi’s 29-run win to end Mumbai’s perfect chasing record in the competition.

Jemimah brought out a breathtaking display of stroke-play to hit an unbeaten 69 off 33 balls while Meg smashed 53 off 38 balls as Delhi made an imposing 192/4 in 20 overs. In Delhi making their third 170+ score of the season, Jemimah was belligerent in hitting eight fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 209, especially with her shots over point being captivating and using that 46-metre square boundary to perfection.

She was batting on 13 off 14 at one point, before accelerating to hit 56 runs in her last 19 balls. Meg was at her solid best in making her third WPL fifty of the current season and also crossed the 500-run mark in the tournament. Shafali Verma and Alice Capsey played good cameos to contribute to Delhi being in a commanding position at the halfway mark.

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In defence of the total on a pitch with low bounce, every Delhi bowler, barring Arundhati Reddy, were amongst the wickets and took early scalps to push the defending champions on the back foot. Eventually, Mumbai made 163/8, to fall short by 29 runs as Delhi retained its top spot on the points table.

Shafali gave a blistering start to Delhi’s innings with a well-placed drive off Shabnim Ismail and chipped a lofted drive over mid-off against Saika Ishaque. After a tickle down leg off Shabnim for four, Shafali had an early life when Saika shelled a chance after running to her left at mid-on. Meg Lanning joined the boundary-hitting party by nailing a straight-bat loft down the ground off Nat Sciver-Brunt for six and got a four by tickling past a diving backward square leg. Shafali hammered back-to-back sixes off Shabnim – lofting down the ground and carving over mid-off.

But Shabnim had the last laugh as she angled a back-of-the-length ball into Shafali, who tried to pull and got a faint edge behind to keeper Yastika Bhatia. Alice wowed everyone with a pulled four to get off the mark as Delhi got 56/1 from their power-play. Alice and Meg then took 14 runs off the eighth over against Amelia Kerr – the former nailing her reverse-sweep and drive past cover for two fours, while the latter brought out her trademark square cut for a boundary.

Alice’s attempt to pre-empt the reverse sweep backfired when she played onto her stumps off Hayley Matthews. But there was no stopping Meg as she took two square cut fours and a lofted six off Amelia in the 12th over yielding 20 runs. Meg got her fifty in 36 balls by using Pooja Vastrakar’s pace to steer between backward point and short third man. A ball later, her knock ended at 53 when she mistimed the pull and Amelia dived forward to take a stunning catch at deep square leg.

Jemimah took on Shabnim by smacking fours over long-on and backward point, before Marizanne Kapp sent one over mid-off for another boundary. Jemimah’s awesome time continued when she moved across to pull Pooja for four and when the pacer pitched it wide, she sliced the drive over backward point for another boundary. Though Marizanne was castled by Saika, Jemimah swept over fine leg and lofted a superb drive over backward point to take back-to-back fours. She continued to toy with the field by shuffling across the crease to slice over backward point for four at the start of the 19th over by Nat.

Jemimah followed by lofting over the bowler’s head and pulling over long leg to hit back-to-back sixes – the first of which got her fifty in 27 balls. In the final over, Jemimah smashed Hayley over long-on for six and swept past a diving short fine leg for four to be unbeaten on 69 off 33 balls.

Mumbai’s chase began on a horror note as Yastika Bhatia was castled while trying to pull off Marizanne Kapp in the opening over. Shikha Pandey joined the wicket-takers party when her inswinger castled Nat Sciver-Brunt.

Marizanne clinched her second wicket when she drew a leading edge from a returning Harmanpreet Kaur’s bat and was caught at backward point. Hayley Matthews tried to resurrect Mumbai’s innings by hitting six fours in her 17-ball 29 and was even dropped by Taniyaa Bhatia. But a ball later, Hayley’s hurried knock ended when she pulled straight to mid-wicket off Jess Jonassen. Amelia Kerr also fell after hitting a four and six, holing out to long-on to become Titas Sadhu’s first WPL scalp, as half of Mumbai’s side fell at 68 in 8.5 overs.

Amanjot Kaur hit seven decent boundaries in her 27-ball 47, including a reverse scoop on a short ball from Shikha Pandey. But her fine knock came to an end when she walked across to paddle sweep, only to see her stumps being rattled by Jess. From there, despite some boundaries from Pooja (17 off 22 balls) and Sajana Sajeevan (24 not out off 14 balls), the result was a foregone conclusion as Jonassen ended with 3-21, with Delhi getting their fourth win of the competition.

Brief scores:

Delhi Capitals 192/4 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 69 not out, Meg Lanning 53; Pooja Vastrakar 1-20, Hayley Matthews 1-23) beat Mumbai Indians 163/8 in 20 overs (Amanjot Kaur 42, Hayley Matthews 29; Jess Jonassen 3-21, Marizanne Kapp 2-37) by 29 runs

 (IANS)

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