Matthews stars as Mumbai make bold statement in historic opener
MATTHEWS...the elegant right-hander punched 47 from 31 balls at the top of the order (Photo: Observer file)

MUMBAI, India (CMC) — West Indies Women's Captain Hayley Matthews played a starring role in the historic opening game of the inaugural Women Premier League here Saturday as her Mumbai Indians crushed Gujarat Giants by 143 runs.

The elegant right-hander punched 47 from 31 balls at the top of the order, helping to lay the foundation for Mumbai's massive 207 for five from their 20 overs.

Player of the Match, Captain Harmanpreet Kaur top-scored with 65 from 30 deliveries while 22-year-old New Zealander Amelia Kerr struck a swift, unbeaten 45 from 24 balls.

Giants, minus retired West Indies all-rounder Deandra Dottin who was forced out of the tournament through injury, could only muster 64 off 15.1 overs in reply.

Number six Dayalan Hemalatha produced a defiant, unbeaten 29 from 23 balls to be only one of two players in double figures — the other being number 11 Monica Patel with 10.

The damage was done by left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque, who snapped up four for 11, while new-ball seamer Nat Sciver-Brunt (2-5) and leg-spinner Kerr (2-12) supported with two wickets apiece.

Sent in at the DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai lost Yastika Bhatia cheaply for one in the third over before the 24-year-old Matthews led her side's rescue efforts in a 54-run, second-wicket stand with Sciver-Brunt who made an 18-ball 23.

Both fell in successive overs, Matthews following Sciver-Brunt at the end of the 10th over after lashing three fours and four sixes — bowled missing a cut at off-break from bowler Ashleigh Gardner.

Her dismissal paved the way for Kaur and Kerr to dominate the innings, however. The 33-year-old Kaur blasted 14 fours en route to her fastest-ever T20 fifty, the right-hander putting on 89 for the fourth wicket with Kerr who then added a further 35 for the fifth with Pooja Vastrakar (15) while counting half-dozen fours and a six.

The reply of the Giants was hampered from early when Beth Mooney hobbled off injured in the first over before she had scored, and once the innings plunged to 23 for seven in the eighth over the run chase was effectively over.

The tournament is the women's version of the Indian Premier League.

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