A top-of-the-table clash in the 2023 Women's Premier League (WPL) sees the Mumbai Indians (MI) take on the Delhi Capitals (DC) in Match 18. The DY Patil Stadium will host this contest on Monday, March 20.
The contest will be the second of a double-header. The UP Warriorz (UPW) and Gujarat Giants (GG) will face off in the first game of the day.
If UPW win, the three playoff spots will be officially decided. Neither GG nor the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) can reach eight points, with RCB having beaten the Giants on Saturday.
Surprisingly, both MI and DC will come into this game on the back of defeats.
Mumbai were beaten by UPW in a last-over thriller as the Warriorz's spinners made the most of the afternoon game to run through the opposition batting lineup. Harmanpreet Kaur and Co. tasted defeat for the first time in the competition and will not want any more hiccups as they attempt to seal direct entry into the final.
DC, on the other hand, were surprisingly beaten by GG. The batting unit will be held responsible for the defeat as several of them found inexcusable ways to get out in their chase of 148. Only three batters crossed the 20-run mark for the Capitals.
MI hammered DC in the reverse fixture by eight wickets as they chased down 106 with five overs to spare. Saika Ishaque, who has gone wicketless in her last two games, was the Player of the Match for her three-fer. Meg Lanning was the only Delhi batter to score more than 25 runs.
Can MI seal a spot in the WPL 2023 final with a win on Monday? Or will DC make the race a little more interesting?
WPL 2023, MI vs DC: Harmanpreet Kaur vs Meg Lanning, 2.0
Saika Ishaque wasn't the only MI player to star against DC in the reverse fixture. Hayley Matthews picked up three wickets and played a valuable cameo at the top of the order, and has been the side's MVP so far this season. Delhi will know that they need to dismiss her early to stand any chance of winning the game.
It's the DC batting lineup that faces a tricky proposition, though. Shafali Verma has failed in four of the six matches the Capitals have played. Her opening partner Meg Lanning has also been dismissed in rather pedestrian fashion in the last two games.
Jemimah Rodrigues, Alice Capsey and Marizanne Kapp have made important contributions a times. However, none of them have played big innings when the openers have failed to put on a substantial stand. Jess Jonassen is a capable batter, but No. 6 is probably too high for her despite the few valuable innings she has played.
UPW defined the blueprint to beating MI, but DC may not have the personnel to execute it. They don't have world-class spinners and their batting unit hasn't been potent enough to withstand the Mumbai bowling test.
While the Capitals are certainly in with a shout, MI should be able to take two points from this WPL fixture.
Prediction: MI to win Match 18 of WPL 2023.
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