Grace Harris slams 59 off 26 to win a thriller for UP Warriorz

UP Warriorz 175 for 7 (Harris 59*, Navgire 53, Garth 5-36) beat Gujarat Giants 169 for 6 (Deol 46) by three wickets

Gujarat Giants came so close to pulling off a comeback win against UP Warriorz. A day after going down by 143-runs to Mumbai Indians and losing their captain Beth Mooney to injury, Gujarat recovered from Saturday’s disastrous collapse to score 169 for 6. Then they had Warriorz down at 105 for 7, but not out. With 65 needed off 26 balls, Grace Harris turned it around for the UP franchise.

Harris clobbered 59 off 26 deliveries won the game with a ball to spare. There was drama in the final over too, bowled by Annabel Sutherland, and it was centred around the new provision that allows teams to use DRS to review wide and no-ball decisions. Gujarat tried to get a wide overturned in the last over and failed, and two balls later the TV umpire upheld Harris’ review for a delivery that was not called a wide on the field. It was a marginal call at best, and UP felt the equation should have been 6 off 2 balls. Instead it was 5 off 3, and Harris finished it with a four and a six.

Gujarat had put in a much-improved batting display, with Harleen Deol anchoring the innings. She made 46 off 32 deliveries, and had help from Ashleigh Gardner (25 off 19) and Dayalan Hemalatha (21* off 13). The highlight of her performance was when she hit Devika Vaidya for four consecutive boundaries in the 17th over.

Gujarat had a great start to their defence as well. Kim Garth, who was brought into their squad as a late replacement for Deandra Dottin and was playing her first game, took three wickets in her second over – the fourth of the innings – to leave UP stuttering at 20 for 3.

With Garth generating some away swing, which led to Alyssa Healy getting a leading edge back to the fast bowler and Shweta Sehrawat slicing the ball to short third, stand-in captain Rana brought in a slip for Tahlia McGrath. The move paid immediate dividends as McGrath edged her first legal delivery to Hemalatha at slip.

Kiran Navgire and Deepti Sharma put on 66 runs for the fourth wicket, with Navgire going on to score a half-century off 40 deliveries. In the same over – the twelfth – Mansi Joshi knocked Deepti over with one that tailed back into the left-hander.

Garth came back into the attack immediately and had Navgire gloving a short ball behind to Healy and then castled Simran Shaikh with a yorker. When Sutherland had Vaidya caught at mid-on in the 16th over, it looked like Giants had the match under control.

That’s when Harris began to change the game, with Sophie Ecclestone for company. Warriorz needed 19 off the final over. Harris deposited the first delivery for a six over midwicket, after which the first of the two wides happened.

Harris then took two to deep midwicket before smashing a four down the ground. The wide yorker followed and while Sutherland thought she had got away with it, a review by Harris resulted in the third umpire calling it a wide. Harris then sent a low full toss flying over backward square to finish the game the way she had played it – with a bang.

“I started poorly and I thought I was fluffing around,” Harris said after winning the Player of the Match award. “You need to get the conditions of the wicket and I was thankful that Sophie (Ecclestone) also motored along.

“I knew what I wanted to do. I was getting antsy when there were so many breaks in the DRS. I was able to compose myself, but I was psyched to get to bat and score. I love batting with freedom. The coach is supportive and tells me to be free.”

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