Shafali, bowlers take DC to final with resounding win

Shafali

Delhi Capitals’ impressive performance helped them enter the league stage of WPL 2024 with a seven-wicket win over Gujarat Giants and get a direct entry into the final. Marijne Kapp, Minnu Mani and Shikha Pandey took two wickets each, as the Giants were bowled out for 126 runs. Capitals needed only 13.1 overs to reach the target, thanks to Shafali Verma’s inning of 71 runs in 37 balls, which included 7 fours and 5 sixes. Jemimah Rodrigues’s unbeaten 38 runs off 28 balls.

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The Capitals finished as the top team in the points table with six wins from eight, while the Giants, with only two wins, finished with the wooden spoon for the second consecutive season. The Capitals are awaiting the winner of the eliminator match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 15.

Kapp, Mani are responsible for the top order

Beth Mooney and Laura Wolvaardt have been carrying the lion’s share of the responsibility with the bat for the Giants in an overseas-centric batting line-up in this edition. With players like Phoebe Litchfield and Ashley Gardner not really performing well in the tournament, the onus is on the openers to perform well, which they have done in the last few matches.

But in the final match of the league stage, the failure of both of them exposed their poor middle order, and led to the collapse. Marizanne Kapp dismissed both the openers inside the powerplay and won the Purple Cap, while Daylan Hemalatha, who had impressed recently, lost to Jess Jonassen on a low score. Giants’ score reached 16/3 in the fifth over and they got only 23 runs in the powerplay. Minnu Mani, who replaced Titas Sadhu, ensured another failure for Gardner, while Litchfield fell after hitting a six off the same bowler as the Giants were reduced to 48/5 in the 11th over.

How did the Giants end up at 126?

The credit for this largely goes to Bharti Fulmali, who scored 42 runs in 36 balls and shared a 68-run partnership with Katherine Bryce. Phulmali, who was at 2 for 5, hit a few fours in the final over of the Kapp to shake the stand. Bryce and Fulmali both hit a four each off Radha Yadav, before Shikha Pandey also went for a few runs. The half-century partnership came in the 17th over when Bryce pulled Arundhati Reddy for a four.

Fulmali hit a total of 7 fours before being bowled by Pandey in the final over, with the wicket of Tanuja Kanwar falling soon afterwards. Both Shabnam Shakeel and Meghna Singh were run out in the last over, but two fours were hit off Jonassen’s ball, as the Giants finished their innings better than they started.

DC made positive start while chasing the target

Shakeel’s quiet 3-run opening over was the calm before the storm for the Giants. Meg Lanning took the responsibility this time, hitting four fours off Bryce in the second over, while Shafali Verma hit three fours off Shakeel in the third over, helping the Capitals chase down the target. Fortunately for the Giants, they saw the back of Lanning, who was run out by Verma after refusing to take a quick single, and Alice was out for a duck on three balls off Capsi Kanwar. But DC finished the powerplay on a strong note, with Verma hitting a six off Meghna and Rodriguez hitting a four off Kanwar as they reached 45/2.

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And it was over in an instant…

After the powerplay, Verma attacked Gardner and hit three sixes and a four in the two overs bowled by the Australian, scoring 28 runs. This happened when Kanwar dropped a catch on his own ball to provide relief to Verma. Rodrigues also became active and scored the maximum run off Mannat Kashyap and Verma also completed his half-century in 28 balls by hitting a four in the same over.

Meghna conceded 20 runs in the 12th over, which included two fours for Rodrigues and a six and a four for Verma. He also hit a four on Kanwar before getting out while trying to play a glory shot in the 13th over. Rodriguez’s winning boundary in the 14th over helped the Capitals complete the defeat of the Giants as the league stage ended with a draw between the two teams.

Brief Scores: Gujarat Giants 126/9 in 20 overs (Bharti Phulmali 42, Katherine Bryce 28; Minnu Mani 2-9, Marizanne Kapp 2-17) lost to Delhi Capitals 129/3 in 13.1 overs (Shafali Verma 71, Jemimah Rodriguez 38) *; Tanuja Kanwar 2-20) by 7 wickets.

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