Mumbai attack grounds high-flying Delhi

T20 cricket is considered a batter’s game, but Mumbai Indians showed that a potent bowling attack can often bring even a star-studded line-up down, setting up a comprehensive win in the Women’s Premier League on Thursday.

Issy Wong and Pooja Vastrakar with swing, and Shaika Ishaque and Hayley Matthews with spin, bundled out Delhi Capitals, who had amassed 200-plus totals in their first two outings, for a measly 105 in 18 overs to set up an eight-wicket victory with five overs to spare.

It was a match-up between the two sides who had won their first two matches, but it quickly turned into a mismatch. On either side of a half-century partnership between skipper Meg Lanning and Jemimah Rodrigues, Delhi Capitals were never in the contest. Being a very short game, momentum in a T20 game can be difficult to break. When Ishaque bowled Rodrigues in the 13th over, it precipitated a remarkable collapse as Dehi lost their last seven wickets for just 24 runs. Even the usually reliable Jess Jonassen couldn’t take them to a total that gave their bowlers a bit of a chance.

The Capitals line-up has been described as top-heavy, but it was of no use to them in this game.

Ishaque wasn’t a household name coming into the inaugural Women’s Premier League. But her accuracy, temperament and ability to get rid of top players has made her a revelation. The 27-year-old left-arm spinner from Kolkata bowled the second over of the match and got rid of the dangerous Shafali Verma, who played all over a full ball.

Then as Capitals skipper Lanning and Rodrigues threatened to make a match of it, Ishaque first dismissed the Indian youngster, who tried to cut a ball too close to her and then, in the same over, induced the Aussie into an uppish shot that was well caught by opposite number Harmanpreet Kaur at cover. Wong was impressive, getting the ball to deviate in both directions without leaving the stumps. She helped herself to three wickets and Matthews took care of the Capitals tail.

A target of 106 was never going to test Mumbai Indians, and openers Yastika Bhatia and Matthews quashed any hopes of a comeback with a 65-run partnership in less than nine overs. They already had a pretty handy net run rate, and Thursday’s win at the DY Patil Stadium only added to it. A week into the tournament, Harmanpreet & Co look the team to beat. Matthews did drop a few catches early on in the game, but their overall ground fielding was at a level above the other sides in the competition.

The tone of the match was set pretty early on. Lanning and Shafali had been a powerful combination in the powerplay in Delhi Capitals’ first two matches, but as soon as the latter got out, followed by the quick dismissals of Alice Capsey and Marizanne Kapp, they were on the backfoot.

It brought arguably their two best batters together, and Lanning and Rodrigues did manage to repair most of the early damage, only for it all to go to waste subsequently. The left-handed Bhatia was elegance personified at the top for Mumbai Indians and didn’t give the opposition a sniff. After both the openers got out, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Harmanpreet got the remaining 29 runs in just 3.5 overs.

Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 105 all out in 18 overs (Lanning 43; Wong 3/10, Ishaque 3/13, Matthews 3/19) lost to Mumbai Indians 109/2 in 15 overs (Yastika Bhatia 41) by 8 wickets.

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