WPL 2023: UP Warriorz rue Nat Sciver-Brunt's dropped catch post defeat to Mumbai Indians
WPL 2023: UP Warriorz succumbed to Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator, thanks to Isabelle Wong's hat-trick. Meanwhile, the former rued Nat Sciver-Brunt's dropped catch that supposedly cost it a spot in the Final.
On Friday, UP Warriorz (UPW) captain Alyssa Healy rued all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt's dropped catch early on in her innings as the batter scored an unbeaten 38-ball 72 to power Mumbai Indians (MI) to a 72-run win in the 2023 Women's Premier League (WPL) Eliminator game. Sophie Ecclestone spilt a regulation catch at mid-on when Sciver-Brunt was starting. The MI all-rounder made the most of the reprieve by striking nine fours and two sixes to guide her team to 182 for 4. UPW was then dismissed for 110 in 17.4 overs, with Isabelle Wong taking a stunning hat-trick.
"We dropped her [Nat] on six, and she went on to make a 20-ball 50. I will back our decision to bowl first. It is something that we have done well this whole tournament. I will back our ability in that regard. We have a lot of spinners. It [wicket] was taking a lot of turns. So, I think defending on that wicket would have been even harder. I still back our decision there. It got a little bit away from us. In the end, I thought 170-odd was a par score, we just needed to bat well, but we quite did not do that," Healy said after MI advanced to the final.
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Healy admitted the UPW needed to work on their fielding, which was an area of concern during the inaugural WPL season. She also pointed out the inconsistency in the top order during its campaign. "It has probably been the tale of our season, losing early wickets in clumps. You cannot get any momentum in your chase. They [MI] bowled well and had better execution as a batting group. We will reflect on that, probably, as a top three or four. We were not consistently great throughout the whole tournament. If you win a tournament, you will bank on your top three to make the heap of runs, and we were unable to do that," Healy said.
The UPW captain said it was a difficult decision to exclude a world-class fast bowler like Shabnim Ismail from the XI, adding the team was hoping the spinners would get the job done. "T-Mag [Tahlia McGrath] was probably a [pace bowling] option, but I backed our spinners to do the job nine times out of 10. We probably did not execute quite as much at the back end. It is tough to have someone like Shabnim Ismail sitting on the bench for us, but, at the moment, the way we are set up, we need the extra batting. I bet the six bowlers we used tonight [Friday] to do the job more often than not. They executed for 15 out of 20 overs, and it got away from us towards the end," Healy said.
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Wong, who returned figures of 4-0-15-4, including the first WPL hat-trick, said she needed to execute her plans well. "It [hat-trick] will be up there [among the best]. When I'm not out bowling well, I look back at my 24 balls [and see] which ones I want to have a go at again. How many did I not execute and want to have a go at again? In terms of those balls, it [hat-trick] will be right up there," Wong said.
"I made a conscious effort to execute it. There have been a few moments in the past when I have been in similar situations where I am too much in the moment or like you said, hyperactive, actually to focus on it and execute. At the end of my bowling mark, I was trying to become quite clear. I wanted to bowl a yorker and nail it but missed it. I got some help [from the wicket], and we take it with both hands," she said about her hat-trick.
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Wong added that MI have momentum on their side ahead of the final on Sunday. "It is a good thing playing the Eliminator because there is a long gap between the last and final group games. I think we have kept some momentum from the last two group games. Hopefully, we will be able to keep that up," she added.
(With inputs from PTI)