Beth Mooney
Beth Mooney made an unbeaten 74 from 52 balls as Gujarat Giants won in the WPL. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
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Mooney’s 74 sends Healy to brink of early WPL exit

Glenn Moore March 12, 2024

A match-winning innings in the WPL has likely ensured Beth Mooney will have Alyssa Healy for company when she almost certainly heads home early from India.

Mooney struck a superb unbeaten 74 in 52 balls, the last 51 coming off 27 balls, to earn Gujarat Giants only their second success in the tournament and just about keeping their slim hopes of reaching the play-offs alive.

But both the Giants and Healy’s UP Warriorz need improbable results to go their way if they are to stay beyond the regular season.

A Warriorz win would have finished the Giants off, and despite being 4-16 chasing 153 they nearly made it, Deepti Sharma’s unbeaten 88 almost taking them to a stunning comeback victory.

But Giants held on to win by eight runs. If they thrash Meg Lanning’s Delhi Capitals on Wednesday (Thursday 0100 AEDT) and Royal Challengers Bangalore lose heavily the previous day to Mumbai Indians, they could qualify, but it would require a huge net-run-rate (NRR) swing.

An RCB drubbing would also give the Warriorz, who have completed their fixtures, a chance, but NRR is also against them.

“It’s been a disappointing night all round,” said Healy. “We probably looked to take it on a bit too early, that’s what we do but it didn’t pay off tonight.

“We’ve been inconsistent [this season]. We’ve let ourselves down, definitely in the field at times, but cashing in where we needed to. Hopefully we’ll be better next year.”

Reflecting on her own team’s’ campaign Mooney said: “In the last few games we gave the fans something good to watch hopefully. It’s good for the group to galvanise together.”

Australia’s opening pair Alyssa Healy (l) and Beth Mooney prepare to face each other in the WPL

Mooney had opted to bat having won the toss against her frequent Australian opening partner, and initially the decision looked to have paid off. With Laura Wolvaardt (43 off 30) cutting loose Giants finished the powerplay 0-53. However, only seven singles came off the next ten balls and Wolvaardt, looking to reignite the run-rate was then stumped by Healy off Sophie Ecclestone.

That was the first of three wickets for eight runs on 15 balls, Phoebe Litchfield also departing, for four off eight, caught in the deep.

Mooney, now took responsibility, heaving Ecclestone over extra cover for six, then tucking her behind square for four. Ash Gardner also attacked but was caught on the boundary for a ten-ball 15.

With Healy snaffling an edge from Bharti Fulmali, Giants were 5-105 and in trouble. That became 7-120 but Mooney, on 41, was dropped.

Dropped again on 50, the West Australian took full advantage, smacking five fours off the final over, bowled by Ecclestone (3-38) as Giants made 8-152.

Warriorz collapsed to 5-35. Healy (four) skied her third ball from 16-year-old Shabnam Shakil (3-11) while Gardner had Grace Harris (one off seven balls) caught at square leg.

Poonam Khemnar (36 no) and Deepti Sharma rebuilt but the run-rate steadily climbed. It came down to 26 off the final over. Sharma hit two sixes, but it was not enough.