Nat Sciver-Brunt’s unbeaten 60 powered the Mumbai Indians to a seven-wicket victory over the Delhi Capitals in the final of the inaugural Women’s Premier League on Sunday.
Mumbai restricted Delhi to 131-9, a total they overhauled with three balls to spare at their Brabourne Stadium home after a key 72-run third-wicket stand between England’s Sciver-Brunt and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (37).
Kaur was run out in the 17th over but Sciver-Brunt raised her third half-century of the tournament to anchor the team home with Amelia Kerr (14*) for company in an unbeaten stand of 39.
Sciver-Brunt hit the winning boundary as the Mumbai dugout erupted in celebrations as the women added to the record five IPL crowns of the men’s team for the franchise owned by Nita Ambani, wife of India’s richest man, Reliance Industries billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
“It means everything. At the start of the competition, I didn’t know what to expect,” Player of the Match Sciver-Brunt said. “Coming together with a special group of girls with the Mumbai Indians, really special to be standing here.”
Kaur said: “It feels like a dream, for everyone here. So many people were asking when will the WPL come and that day is here, and we are so happy and proud.”
England pace bowler Issy Wong and West Indies off-spinner Hayley Matthews set up the victory as they claimed three wickets each to flatten the opposition after Delhi elected to bat first.
Mumbai lost their openers inside four overs but Kaur and Sciver-Brunt soaked up the pressure as players from the men’s team led by Rohit Sharma looked on along with a nearly packed house at the 20,000-capacity stadium.
The stand was broken with Kaur’s run out after she attempted to steal a single only to fall well short at the non-striker’s end but there was no stopping Sciver-Brunt.
Delhi crumbled under pressure despite a late blitz from Shikha Pandey (27*) and Radha Yadav (27*) lifted the team from a precarious 79-9 to bat out the innings.
Wong rattled the opposition top-order and then Matthews demolished the Delhi batting as she returned figures of 3-5.
Delhi looked down and out before No 8 Shikha put on an unbeaten 52-run 10th-wicket stand off just 24 balls with Radha to take the total past 100.
Wong struck twice in her first over, the second of the match, with the wickets of Shafali Verma (11) and Alice Capsey (nought) in the space of three deliveries to put Delhi on the back foot.
Captain Meg Lanning (35) and Jemimah Rodrigues hit back with four boundaries in five balls but Wong struck again with the wicket of Rodrigues as Delhi slipped to 35-3.
The in-form Lanning, who captains Australia in all three formats, consolidated her top spot in the tournament batting charts with 345 runs but her run out hurt Delhi badly.
Delhi kept losing wickets and collapsed from 73-3 with Kerr picking up two wickets to return impressive figures of 2-18.
Matthews demolished the opposition batting with figures of 3-5 and returned as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 16 alongside Sophie Ecclestone of UP Warriorz.
Proteas all-rounder Marizanne Kapp made 18 off 21 balls with the bat for Delhi before returning figures of 0-22 with the ball in four overs.
“We would have loved to win tonight, but full credit to the Mumbai Indians they have been excellent throughout the tournament, so they deserved their win,” said Lanning.
The WPL is the second most lucrative domestic women’s sport competition globally after WNBA basketball in the United States.
The 16th edition of the men’s IPL, which remains the biggest revenue earner for the BCCI, begins on Friday in Ahmedebad.
© Agence France-Presse