A brilliant 93-run partnership between Dayalan Hemalatha (57 off 33 balls) and the second costliest player Ashleigh Gardner (60 off 39 balls) helped Gujarat Giants post 178 for six in their crucial Women's Premier League match against UP Warriorz in Mumbai on Monday. (More Cricket News)
The authority and attacking ways with which the duo played indicated they were on a mission, given the do-or-die nature of the contest as the tournament enters its business end.
By the time the partnership ended, with Hemalatha dismissed by Parshavi Chopra in the 17th over with the team total on 143, the stand had put the team on course for a big total.
South African opener Laura Wolvaardt and Sophia Dunkley went about their task of scoring runs in powerplay with a lot of urgency. Runs flowed freely while the two batting stalwarts were at the crease, with Wolvaardt smacking a fine boundary off just the third ball of the opening over bowled by left-arm pacer Anjali Sarvani.
The 23-year-old used the width on offer to steer it past backward point, making her intentions clear. Just two overs into the match and Gujarat Giants were in overdrive, with the team having scored 26 runs.
The powerful six by the South African off a length delivery outside off stump from left-arm India spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the second over had class and power written all over it.
Soon England batter Dunkley took charge, giving a further fillip to the scoring rate.
By the time Wolvaardt was dismissed for 17, knocked down by a length delivery from Sarvani, the pair had put up an opening partnership of 41 in just four overs.
The UP side recovered from the initial onslaught as they reduced the Giants to 50 for three at the end of powerplay.
Dunkley was the next batter to depart on the first ball of the sixth over, slicing a flighted delivery from Gayakwad to third man where Sarvani did the rest.
Harleen Deol (4), after threading one past point for a boundary, was dismissed on the last ball of the same over as the young India batter was caught by Simran Shaikh at cover point.
With such a flourishing start, 50/3 in powerplay overs looked mediocre. But new batters, Hemalatha and Gardner ensured a quick flow of runs.
The Giants' 100 came in the 11th over with Gardner clearing deep midwicket to deposit a big six into the cow corner.
The flurry of boundaries and sixes continued with monotonous regularity with the pair dispatching virtually every loose delivery to the ropes.