Cricket

WPL 2024: Grace Harris, Sophie Ecclestone Shine As UP Warriorz Thrash Gujarat Giants By Six Wickets

Grace Harris smashed pacer Meghna Singh for three successive fours in the third over as the UP outfit reached 33 in just three overs, which they later swelled to 69 for two in the Power Play section

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Grace Harris playing a shot during her innings against Gujarat Giants in WPL 2024. Photo: X/ wplt20
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Grace Harris made a powerful fifty that helped UP Warriorz negate a sluggish surface to register a facile six-wicket win over Gujarat Giants in their Women's Premier League match in Bengaluru on Friday. (As It Happened | Full Coverage | Schedule And Points Table)

Harris (60 not out, 33 balls, 9x4, 2x6) and skipper Alyssa Healy (33, 21b, 7x4) helped Warriorz hunt down 143 in 15.4 overs for their second win in the tournament.

Giants were restricted to 142 for five after left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone (3/20) used a rough deck to her advantage.

Harris gave the finishing touches to her good work with outstanding innings.

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The Australian right-hander used her reach and force to telling effect to keep the pressure on the Giants bowlers after Healy gave them a fantastic start in the Power Play.

The diminutive Australian smashed pacer Meghna Singh for three successive fours in the third over as the UP outfit reached 33 in just three overs, which they later swelled to 69 for two in the Power Play section.

The Giants also suffered a major blow when Harleen Deol had to limp off the field after she landed on her knees while trying to stop the ball near the ropes.

But the Gujarat side showed some signs of a comeback when they collected the quick wickets of Healy, debutante Chamari Athapathuthu and Shewta Sherawat to reduce UP to 90 for 4 in the 11th over.

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They needed 53 more runs to finish the chase at this stage but Harris and Deepti Sharma (17 not out) amassed the runs in just 30 balls to propel their side to victory.

Earlier, Gujarat, in fact, made a fine start to their innings as Laura Wolvaardt (28, 26b, 4x4) helped them reach 41 in the Power Play for the loss of skipper Beth Mooney.

Wolvaardt smashed Anjali Sarvani for three fours in a row through the off-side as the pacer erred in line outside the off-stump.

But once the Power Play ended, the Giants slipped into a period of hibernation, going without a boundary for 23 balls, and the dismissal of Wolvaardt too did not help their cause.

It required a forceful 52-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Phoebe Litchfield (35, 26 balls) and Ashleigh Gardner (30, 17 balls) to add a touch of respectability to their total.

Litchfield, who was dropped on 19 by Deepti Sharma off Ecclestone, brought her hockey background into her batting, using those supple wrists to manoeuvre the ball into the corners behind the wicketkeeper.

Her reverse scoop off left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad for a boundary was a treat to watch.

At the other end, Gardner was all about raw power and smart placement. Gardener muscled her Australian teammate Harris over mid-wicket for six as the Giants tried to make up for the lost time.

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But the flowering alliance was snapped when Gardner's attempt to reverse-scoop ended in the hands of Athapaththu near short fine leg.

In the same over, Litchfield was run out while trying to steal a quick single, as Saima Thakor’s direct throw beat her to the crease.

Litchfield’s dismissal also ended the Giants' hopes of raking in some quick runs in the last couple of overs.

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