Grace Harris UP Warriorz star hits 22 to win match
Grace Harris is the talk of the WPL after her amazing 22-run winning over for UP Warriorz. Image by Simon Sturzaker/AAP PHOTOS
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Harris knock lets Healy eat cake with first WPL win

Ian Chadband February 29, 2024

Alyssa Healy has been left enjoying the Indian tradition of scoffing post-victory cake after winning her first Women’s Premier League match of the season – and she had her Australian teammate Grace Harris to thank for the treat.

In a miserable start to the UP Warriorz campaign, Healy had overseen two straight losses while contributing just 18 in her opening pair of innings for the Lucknow-based Uttar Pradesh outfit.

But after producing a significant support knock of 33 off 29 balls on Thursday while watching her exciting Indian opening partner Kiran Navgire smash a dazzling 57 off 31 at the other end in the pursuit of 162, Healy was then left thankful for Harris’s finishing excellence in their seven-wicket win.

Harris, who had earlier taken a fine boundary catch to get rid of the dangerous Hayley Matthews for 55 and also snaffled the well-set opener Yastika Bhatia (26) with her offspin (1-20 off four overs), took control by scoring 38 off just 17 balls – a strike rate of 223.52.

Along with Deepti Sharma (27 off 20), Harris’s knock, which included a straight six that New Zealander Amelia Kerr could only get her fingertips to on the boundary edge and six sweetly struck fours headed by an extravagant scoop, got Warriorz comfortably across the line on 3-163 with 3.3 overs remaining.  

Asked how her Warriorz would celebrate after their poor start to the tournament, Australia skipper Healy beamed: “Ah, with cake! I mean that’s what you do here in India – we get cake!”

And she felt her team, which also included another international teammate Tahlia McGrath, who was out for one, all deserved a taste. 

“I’m just proud of the girls. They’ve never at any point dropped their heads, dropped their shoulders after out start to the campaign, they just come back every day and work even harder,” said Healy.

“Over the moon to get ourselves on the board and beat a quality side like Mumbai. It’s nice to be able to board, get a win – but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Much was down not just to 30-year-old Harris’s continuing excellence but to the big-hitting 29-year-old Navgire, who took her unexpected chance at being moved up from number six to opener because of a fielding injury to Vrinda Dinesh by clouting four sixes and six fours at the top of the order.

Now, the only one of the three Australian franchise captains in the tournament yet to register a win is Gujarat Giants’ Beth Mooney, and she’ll have a chance to break her duck against the Warriorz on Friday.