Half-centuries by Dayalan Hemalatha and Ashleigh Gardner powered Gujarat Giants to a total of 178/6 in 20 overs against UP Warriorz in Match 17 of the Women's Premier League (WPL) here at Brabourne Stadium on Monday.
After losing the three wickets inside the Power-play, Hemalatha (57 off 33) and Gardner (60 off 39) steadied the ship, scoring runs at a brisk pace. The duo stitched a stunning 93-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Meanwhile, Sophie Ecclestone took the top spot in the list of highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
Opting to bat first, the opening duo of Sophia Dunkley and Laura Wolvaardt gave Giants a strong start, collecting runs in 41 runs off 4.1 overs in the Power-play.
After a dot ball and a single in the opening over, Wolvaardt used the angle to good effect and guided the ball through third man for a four. Dunkley looked fluent in the next over as she hit Rajeshwari Gayakwad for back-to-back boundaries. Wolvaardt then ended the over with a brilliant six through long-on.
With just three coming off the third over, Dunkley and Wolvaardt together collected 12 runs off the fourth over with a boundary and a maximum respectively.
When the duo looked comfortable on the pitch, Anjali Sarvani gave Warriorz a much-needed breakthrough, dismissing Wolvaardt for 17 off 13 in the sixth wicket. Anjali came from round the wicket and bowl a length ball on the middle stump, Wolvaardt tried to play it across but missed it and the ball deflected off her back pad to crash into the stumps.
Soon after Wolvaardt's dismissal, Giants lost two big wickets in quick succession in the form of Dunkley and Harleen Deol. Rajeshwari Gayakwad removed Dunkley for 23 in the sixth over, who looked to go inside out but was beaten in the flight. She sliced the ball towards the short third man, where Anjali took an easy catch.
In the same over, Gayakwad trapped another big fish Harleen, who tossed the ball further away from her outside off. She tried to go down the ground but ended up slicing it towards the cover point, where Simran Shaikh took it with ease, reducing Giants to 50-3 after the Power-play.
After the top three batters headed back to the hut, Dayalan Hemalatha and Ashleigh Gardner came to their rescue. While the latter was dealing in singles, Hemalatha on the other hand was quick to collect runs with boundaries. The duo quickly established a 55-run partnership off 36 balls, taking Giants past the 100-run mark after 12 overs.
Hemalatha survived a close LBW call in the 13th over and the next moment hammered the low full-toss from Deepti Sharma over the deep mid-wicket for a maximum.
In the 14th over, Hemalatha looked to cut it away with the spin but the ball struck on the pad first. After that, she cut it to a backward point and the umpire upheld the appeal. But Hemalatha was quick to review it. UltraEdge confirmed that it is pad first and ball-tracking showed the impact was outside off and thus Hemalatha survived another review.
In the 16th over, she dragged down outside off stump and swung through the line and launch it over the bowler's head for a six to complete her half-century off just 30 balls.
On the first ball of the 17th over, Parshavi Chopra put an end to Hemalatha's brilliant knock and in the process ended the brilliant 93-run stand for the fourth wicket.
After Hemalatha's wicket, Gardner held the fort and brought up her second half-century in four games, with a boundary off the bowling of Deepti Sharma. The next moment she lifted the slot ball for a six. Then, Anjali struck again sending Gardner back to the hut in the 18th over for a score of 60.
In the final over of the innings, Sophie Ecclestone got her much-needed wicket to top the purple cap list by dismissing Ashwani Kumari, who tried to go for big but missed it as the ball rapped on the pads.
With a single on the penultimate ball of the innings, followed by a dot ball, Giants posted 178 on the board for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs.
Brief scores: Gujarat Giant 178/6 in 20 0vers (Dayalan Hemalatha 57, Ashleigh Gardner 60; Parshavi Chopra 2-29, Rajeshari Gayakwad 2-39 vs UP Warriorz