Gujarat Giants vs UP Warriorz in a lopsided race for playoffs
Gujarat Giants are still alive in the playoffs race but they are so far down the points table, despite having the same points as Royal Challengers Bangalore, because of their net run rate of -2.511 that they virtually don’t have a chance to finish in the top three. Monday afternoon will bring their last league game and even if they score 160 and beat UP Warriorz by 100 runs, they will still need Warriorz to lose to Delhi Capitals by 112 runs to move ahead of them on NRR. Not just that, they will also need Royal Challengers to lose their last game to Mumbai Indians.
The focus is then on Warriorz, who are on third place, and are the only team to have beaten Mumbai. They can confirm their playoffs spot by simply winning one of their last two games or even if they lose their last two but by small margins, and they wouldn’t want to do that.
Now that the pitches have started tiring out and are assisting spin, Warriorz have an unenvious line-up full of spinners, and they gave 18 out of their 20 overs to spinners in the win against Mumbai at the DY Patil Stadium. Monday’s first game is at the Brabourne Stadium, where Giants will be hoping they can either repeat what they did to Capitals, defending a low total of 147, or score big like they did on Saturday.
Ashleigh Gardner has done it for Giants with the bat and ball, having been their finisher and regular wicket-taker, including in the powerplay. She is their second-highest scorer and is also their joint-highest wicket-taker, and if Monday turns out to be their last game, expect another top performance from her to sign off.
Left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone is the joint top wicket-taker in the WPL with 12 strikes and also gives Warriorz a more than handy batting option lower down the order, which she showed with a match-winning six against Mumbai on Saturday.
Gujarat Giants (possible): 1 Sophia Dunkley, 2 Laura Wolvaardt, 3 S Meghana, 4 Ashleigh Gardner, 5 D Hemalatha, 6 Harleen Deol, 7 Ashwani Kumari, 8 Sneh Rana (capt), 9 Sushma Verma (wk), 10 Tanuja Kanwar, 11 Kim Garth
UP Warriorz (possible): 1 Alyssa Healy (capt & wk), 2 Devika Vaidya, 3 Kiran Navgire, 4 Tahlia McGrath, 5 Grace Harris, 6 Deepti Sharma, 7 Sophie Ecclestone, 8 Simran Shaikh, 9 Parshavi Chopra, 10 Anjali Sarvani, 11 Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Warriorz and Giants have the worst scoring rates in the powerplays in WPL as of now – 6.30 and 6.38 respectively
While bowling, Giants have leaked runs at the worst rate (9.35) in powerplays whereas Warriorz have taken the fewest wickets (six) in the same phase
There are six spinners among the top seven wicket-takers in the WPL so far, and two of them are from Warriorz – Ecclestone and Deepti Sharma
“I’ve had a good couple of weeks since the halfway point of the World Cup but I think during that tournament we had a psychologist with us and I was talking a lot to her. We spoke a lot about controlling the controllables and controlling what I can.”
Gujarat Giants’ Laura Wolvaardt on carrying her form from the T20 World Cup to the WPL
“There’s no pressure as such, we’re taking it one match at a time. We are focusing on ourselves and not on what other teams are doing.”
UP Warriorz vice-captain Deepti Sharma on her team’s outlook towards the playoffs