In Gujarat Giants getting their second win of the Womens Premier League (WPL) with an 11-run victory over Delhi Capitals, off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner justified her top billing through superb performances with bat and ball.
Ashleigh was aggressive from the word go to be unbeaten on 51 off 33 balls as Gujarat made 147/4. She was also involved in a crucial 81-run partnership off 53 balls for the third wicket with Laura Wolvaardt, who made 57. With the ball, she took 2-19 in 3.4 overs to get a big win for Gujarat.
"It's the game I was searching for. I felt I'd been inconsistent so far in the tournament. To put my team in a winning position with the bat, Laura and I set the platform for our team to leverage. Then we knew we had to bowl well," said Ashleigh on getting the Player of the Match award.
She was also pleased with how Gujarat produced a better bowling performance and opined spin will play a major role in the business end of the competition. "We did that, it's the first time we bowled out a team. So it was a clinical performance which is pleasing. We spoke as a team and felt that we were losing too many wickets in clumps. To take our time and remember that 20 overs is a long time, you tend to forget that as it seems to go so fast."
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"So we gave ourselves a couple of balls to have a look, given you can catch up in India where the outfields are fast and wickets are good and cash in at the end. I think as the tournament has gone on, there's been more spin and has played a greater part. There was none earlier in the tournament, so now we can hit our lengths and find results."
Pace all-rounder Kim Garth was brilliant upfront for Gujarat, taking 2/18 in her four overs, including the crucial scalp of Arundhati Reddy in the 17th over. "We have played well but have been unlucky, happy with the win today. We have been working hard on being calm. People from different countries operating can be challenging at times. We showed tonight that we can put up a fight and stay in contention," she said to broadcasters after the match ended.
The win also means Gujarat managed to keep their chances for a top-three finish alive. "Our top-order assessed conditions nicely. 200 was par (score) early on but now we, the bowlers, are delighted. The pitches are probably getting tired. I was contemplating the whole tournament going at tens and that we'll go for runs even if the bowling is good. Happy that's not the case. With all the teams in contention, it's great," she concluded.