Cricket

Mumbai Indians Vs Gujarat Giants, Women's Premier League 2024: Three Key Battles To Watch Out For

After a thrilling last-ball victory over Delhi Capitals in the season opener, Mumbai Indians will eye a more clinical win against Gujarat Giants at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Let's look at three key player battles that shape the outcome of the Women's Premier League 2024 clash

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Mumbai Indians head coach Charlotte Edwards in conversation with all-rounder Sajana Sajeevan, who was picked at the WPL 2024 auction. Photo: Mumbai Indians
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The Women's Premier League 2024 is off to a rollicking start. The league has witnessed two cliffhangers in as many days, with Mumbai Indians pipping Delhi Capitals courtesy Sajeevan Sajana's last-ball six, and Royal Challengers Bangalore edging out UP Warriorz by two runs in a last-over thriller. (Full Coverage | Schedule And Points Table)

After a day's rest, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led MI Women will take the field again for their second game of the season. Up against them will be Beth Mooney's Gujarat Giants, who will be commencing their campaign with this match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

The two teams have locked horns twice before, in the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League. Mumbai had emerged as the dominant victors on both occasions. In the first clash, Harmanpreet Kaur's team shot out Gujarat for just 64 to register a whopping 143-run win in the WPL 2023 season-opener. The second duel saw Mumbai come up trumps by 55 runs, a performance that was eventually followed by the team lifting the trophy.

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The defending champions have begun in right earnest, showing nerves of steel to pull off a win despite hiccups all through the game. They will be targeting a much more clinical show against Gujarat Giants, but Beth Mooney's team cannot be discounted.

Squads:

Gujarat Giants Women: Beth Mooney (wk/c), Laura Wolvaardt, Harleen Deol, Phoebe Litchfield, Ashleigh Gardner, Veda Krishnamurthy, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sneh Rana, Tanuja Kanwar, Meghna Singh, Mannat Kashyap, Shabnam Md Shakil, Priya Mishra, Trisha Poojitha, Kashvee Gautam, Tarannum Pathan, Kathryn Bryce, Lauren Cheatle.

Mumbai Indians Women: Hayley Matthews, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, Amanjot Kaur, Sajeevan Sajana, Shabnim Ismail, Keerthana Balakrishnan, Saika Ishaque, Chloe Tryon, Fatima Jaffer, Issy Wong, Humaira Kazi, Jintimani Kalita, Priyanka Bala, Amandeep Kaur.

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Let's take a look at three key player battles that shape the outcome of the MI-W vs GG-W game

Harmanpreet Kaur Vs Sneh Rana

The battle of the India team-mates promises to be an exciting one. Captain and senior pro Harmanpreet Kaur can hit the big ones almost at will, and will be endeavouring to do the same against Gujarat Giants on Sunday. But in her way stands off-spinner Sneh Rana, who has built a reputation for coming good in crisis situations. She has the ability to stem the run flow and will dearly wish to do that, preferably by seeing the back of the aggressive Harmanpreet.

Harleen Deol Vs Nat Sciver-Brunt

India middle-order batter Harleen Deol is one of the mainstays in the Gujarat Giants line-up and can be expected to deliver the goods at the big stage. She notched up 202 runs in the first WPL edition and will aim to start with a bang this time around too. But it won't be so easy against the experienced seamer Nat Sciver-Brunt, who has the accuracy to unsettle any batter with her medium pace. This contest could define how the middle overs of the Gujarat Giants innings go.

Sajeevan Sajana Vs Ashleigh Gardner

Sajeevan Sajana was an uncommon entity ahead of the WPL 2024 season-opener. But she made cricket lovers sit up and take notice with her last-ball six that won Mumbai the game against last season's runners-up Delhi Capitals. She faced just one ball in that game, and will aspire to do far more with the bat in her second outing, should she get more time in the middle. A certain Ashleigh Gardner, however, could throw a spanner in the works. The 26-year-old Aussie off-spinner has a wealth of international experience, as also the ability to effect breakthroughs when the need arises.

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