Mumbai Indians players celebrate their win in the Women’s Premier League Twenty20 cricket final match against Delhi Captials in Mumbai on Sunday. AP
England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt hit an unbeaten half-century to steer Mumbai Indians to a tense seven-wicket victory over 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 home Brabourne Stadium after a key 72-run third-wicket stand between Sciver-Brunt (60 not out) and skipper 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, who made 14 not out, 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.
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 the members of men’s team led by Rohit Sharma looked on along with a nearly packed house of 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 not out) and Radha Yadav (27 not out) 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 number eight 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 (0) in the space of three deliveries to put Delhi on the back foot.
Skipper Meg Lanning and Jemimah Rodrigues hit back with four boundaries in five balls but Wong struck again with the wicket of Rodrigues as Delhi fell 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.
The WPL is the second most lucrative domestic women’s sport competition globally after WNBA basketball in the United States.