Kim Garth’s five-wicket haul went in vain as Gujarat Giants suffered a heartbreaking three-wicket defeat against the UP Warriorz in their second match of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, March 5.

The Giants rode on Harleen Deol’s 32-ball 46 along with contributions from Sabbhineni Meghana (24), Ashleigh Gardner (25) and Dayalan Hemalatha (21 not out) to post 169/6 in their 20 overs. In reply, twin fifties from Grace Harris (59 not out), Kiran Navgire (53) and Sophie Ecclestone’s unbeaten 12-ball 22 guided the Warriorz to a thrilling victory.

Earlier, Giants’ captain Sneh Rana won the toss and opted to bat first. They made three changes to their playing XI, bringing in Sophia Dunkley, Kim Garth and Sushma Verma in place of injured Beth Mooney, Georgia Wareham and Monica Patel. 

Openers Sabbhineni Meghana and Sophia Dunkley got the Giants off to a blitzkrieg as the duo forged an impressive 34-run stand before Dunkley (13) was dismissed by Deepti Sharma.

The Giants soon suffered another massive blow as Meghana departed for a quick-fire 24 runs off just 15 balls.

With the score reading 38/2 in 4.3 overs, Annabel Sutherland joined Harleen Deol at the crease. The pair added 12 runs for the third wicket before Sutherland (8) perished to left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone.

In desperate need of a partnership, wicketkeeper-batter Sushma Verma and Harleen looked to rebuild the innings for the Giants. The two Indian batters stitched a 26-run stand before Sushma (9) lost her wicket to Tahlia McGrath.

Following Sushma’s dismissal, Giants’ star all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner joined Harleen in the middle. The duo added 44 runs off just 29 balls for the fifth wicket to bring the Giants back into the game.

However, Deepti provided the UP Warriorz the much-needed breakthrough as she got Gardner stumped for a 19-ball 25.

At the other end, Harleen continued to play a scintillating knock as she smashed Devika Vaidya for four consecutive fours in the 17th over.

The Giants, however, succumbed to another blow as Harleen was dismissed by Anjali Sarvani as she was caught at deep mid-wicket.

Middle-order batter Dayalan Hemalatha scored an unbeaten 21 runs off 13 balls towards the end to help the Giants post a competitive total of 169/6.

Defending a target of 170, the Giants got off to a sensational start as right-arm fast bowler Kim Garth produced a three-wicket over to remove Alyssa Healy (7), Shweta Sehrawat (5) and Tahlia McGrath (0) in just the third over of the chase.

After losing three quick wickets, the UP Warriorz rode on Kiran Navgire and Deepti Sharma to resurrect their innings. Navgire and Sharma stitched a 65-run stand to keep the Warriorz in the hunt.

Meanwhile, Navgire brought up her maiden WPL fifty off just 40 balls.

Later in the 12th over, Giants’ pacer Mansi Joshi broke the dangerous-looking partnership as she cleaned up Deepti for 11. 

On the other hand, Garth continued her dream spell as she claimed a five-wicket haul in the WPL, dismissing Navgire (53) and Simran Shaikh (0) in back-to-back deliveries in her third over.

The Giants continued to pile more pressure on the Warriorz as Australian pacer Sutherland soon removed Devika Vaidya (4).

With 65 runs needed off just 26 balls, Grace Harris and Ecclestone later forged a match-winning partnership to guide the Warriorz to their first win in the WPL.

The Giants will need to bounce back quickly when they lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Brabourne Stadium on Wednesday, March 8.