Twin fifties from Laura Wolvaardt and Ashleigh Gardner followed by an impressive all-round bowling performance helped Gujarat Giants beat Delhi Capitals by 11 runs in their sixth match of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday, March 16.
The Giants rode on half-centuries from Wolvaardt (57) and Gardner (51 not out) to post 147/4 in their 20 overs. Later, the Giants’ bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to bundle out Delhi for 136 in 18.4 overs.
Earlier, Delhi captain Meg Lanning won the toss and opted to field. The Capitals added leg-spinner Poonam Yadav in place of Tara Norris in their playing XI. On the other hand, the Giants brought in Wolvaardt and debutant Ashwani Kumari, replacing Annabel Sutherland and Sabbhineni Meghana.
Sophia Dunkley and Wolvaardt opened the innings for the Giants. However, they suffered an early blow as Dunkley (4) perished to Marizanne Kapp in the very first over.
Following Dunkley’s dismissal, in-form Harleen Deol walked into bat at number three. Harleen and Wolvaardt played sensibly to revive the Giants' innings. The duo stitched a 49-run stand before Harleen (31) was dismissed by DC’s left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.
Giants’ star all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner joined Wolvaardt in the middle. The pair quickly added 47 runs off 32 balls to help the side reach 100/2 in 15.1 overs.
Wolvaardt continued to hit boundaries in different parts of the ground to bring up her maiden WPL fifty off 41 balls.
In the 19th over, DC’s fast bowler Arundhati Reddy ended the scintillating 81-run stand as she cleaned up Wolvaardt for her brilliant 45-ball 57. The South African batter’s innings was laced with six fours and one six.
At the other end, Giants’ vice-captain Gardner also played a blistering knock as she notched up a 31-ball fifty. Her innings included nine fours.
Gardner’s unbeaten 51 off 33 balls powered the Giants to a competitive total of 147/4.
Defending 148, Giants’ left-arm spinner Tanuja Kanwer got the early breakthrough as she cleaned up Shafali Verma for 8.
Skipper Lanning and Alice Capsey later steadied the ship for the Capitals as they forged a 38-run stand.
In the sixth over, Giants’ captain Sneh Rana bagged the massive wicket of Lanning (18) as she trapped her in front of the stumps.
The Giants soon picked up the third wicket as Capsey (22) was back in the pavilion after a run-out.
GG continued to pile more pressure on the Capitals’ batting line-up as pacer Kim Garth removed Jemimah Rodrigues for 1.
Reeling at 52/4, Jess Jonassen joined Marizanne Kapp at the crease. The two overseas batters added 29 runs off 25 balls for the fifth wicket to keep Delhi in the chase.
Meanwhile, Harleen claimed her first wicket as she dismissed Jonassen for 4 to put the Giants in a commanding position.
The Adani Sportsline-owned outfit continued to bag wickets at regular intervals as Gardner soon cleaned up Delhi’s wicketkeeper-batter Taniya Bhatia (1).
The Giants later picked up the huge wicket of Kapp (36) as she departed after a direct hit from Ashwani.
Tanuja scalped her second wicket as she dismissed Radha Yadav (1) to reduce DC to 100/8 in 14.3 overs.
However, Arundhati Reddy and Shikha Pandey established a 35-run stand for the ninth wicket to keep Delhi in the hunt.
Garth provided the Giants the much-needed breakthrough as she removed Arundhati for a 17-ball 25.
Captain Rana bagged the final wicket of Poonam Yadav (0) to bowl out Delhi for 136 in 18.4 overs.
Gardner was adjudged the Player of the Match for her match-winning performance both with bat and ball.
Having registered their second victory, the Giants have jumped to fourth in the WPL 2023 standings with four points from six matches as they remain in contention for the playoffs.
The Rachael Haynes-coached Giants will aim to continue their winning momentum when they lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday, March 18.