The high-flying Mumbai Indians (MI) will play their first afternoon game of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2023 against the UP Warriorz (UPW) at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
Mumbai have won all five of their games so far and with a healthy net run rate, one might argue that a win against UPW would all but seal the top spot as well as their place in the final.
UPW, on the other hand, have lost two matches on the bounce and need to ensure that they don’t lose another one as it would give the likes of Gujarat Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore a sniff to finish in the third spot.
MI had won the reverse fixture comfortably by eight wickets and there were certain match-ups that he could play a role again in the upcoming match. On that note, let’s take a look at three such match-ups in Match 17 of WPL 2023:
#3 Yastika Bhatia vs Sophie Ecclestone
Yastika Bhatia has been under the scanner for her strike rate in T20Is for India. However, the southpaw has proven in the WPL 2023 so far that if given a clear role in the team, she can deliver with consistency.
In five games, Bhatia has scored 151 runs and has given MI a solid start on almost every occasion. However, she has been dismissed thrice to left-arm spin, which is a bit unusual because as a southpaw, she should fancy herself to dominate this particular set of bowlers.
UPW arguably have the best spinner in women’s cricket at the moment in Sophie Ecclestone and they would probably know about Bhatia’s dismissals to left-arm spin. With Hayley Matthews not having fired from the previous two games, UPW will know that getting Bhatia fired early will be a huge blow to MI.
#2 Tahlia McGrath vs Amelia Kerr
Tahlia McGrath has already played some wonderful knocks in WPL 2023, proving why she is the No. 1 ranked T20I batter in women’s cricket. She has great memories of playing against MI as she scored a fine half-century in Match 10 of WPL 2023 at the Brabourne (CCI).
Although she was dismissed at the wrong time, which cost UPW 15-20 runs, McGrath dominated MI bowlers during her time at the crease. Mumbai do have a match-up for the star batter in the form of leg-spinner Amelia Kerr.
Kerr has conceded 33 runs in the 33 balls that she has bowled to McGrath and has dismissed her thrice. Although the Kiwi spinner has been a tad expensive at times, her wicket-taking ability will be crucial against the likes of McGrath.
#1 Alyssa Healy vs Hayley Matthews
Apart from being an explosive batter, Hayley Matthews has been a sensational bowler for MI this season. She is the second-highest wicket-taker in the WPL so far, with a staggering 10 wickets from five games.
UPW skipper Alyssa Healy has had a mixed tournament so far, with a couple of fantastic knocks and also a few failures. She did score a few runs against Matthews in the previous fixture between the two teams, but Matthews has also dismissed her twice in T20s.
With the West Indies captain likely to bowl in the powerplay again, this is an interesting match-up to look forward to.