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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Smiling Harris stars again for UP Warriorz in WPL win

Ian Chadband March 2, 2024

Australian Grace Harris is rapidly becoming the stand-out player – and character – in the Women’s Premier League after her latest matchwinning display for the UP Warriorz in Bengaluru.

Harris turned what looked a tricky assignment into a bit of a cakewalk on Friday when her thumping 60 not out off just 33 balls did most to ease the Lucknow-based Warriorz to a six-wicket victory over Beth Mooney’s still winless Gujarat Giants.

“She makes cricket look pretty easy at the moment,” beamed her Australia and Warriorz captain Alyssa Healy after the big-hitting allrounder Harris had picked up another player of the match award for her knock which had featured two sixes and nine fours.

“All credit to her, she batted outstanding again tonight.”

Harris also collected the WPL’s coveted orange cap as the leading run scorer in the tournament – as she took her tally to 153 in her four innings, all scored at an average of 76.50 and at the tremendous strike rate of 168.13.

Throw in some useful overs of spin, with a couple of wickets at a decent economy rate of 6.3 per over, and a handful of fine catches, and there’s been no doubting Harris’s key influence for Healy’s side.

More than that, the ever-smiling Queenslander’s bubbly character – on Friday, she had time to pontificate on her love of burgers and Indian food during the match while miked up for the host broadcasters – is endearing her to her hosts.

The feeling, it seems, is mutual. “I’m really enjoying it and really embracing my role in the middle-order and just trying my hardest to win games for the team,” gushed the ever-smiling 30-year-old afterwards. “I love India!”

“Oh, I’m going to wear it,” she also beamed of her orange cap, which Meg Lanning had taken home at the end of the 2023 tournament.

Harris also believes there’s a new maturity to her game. “I tried not to get too frustrated and flustered out there, and as I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve learned to control my emotions and if I’ve ever felt nervous, just gone back to the basics. I think it’s working for us,” she said.

She was not the only influential Australian in action in Friday’s contest. After Healy had opted to field, Mooney scored a run-a-ball 16 before Harris caught her at mid-off off Sophie Ecclestone’s spin.

It was the Aussie combination of Phoebe Litchfield (35 off 26) and Ash Gardner (30 off 17) whose brisk partnership of 52 did most to earn the Giants a decent total of 5-142 to defend.

But Healy set the tone for the Warriorz in reply with her 21-ball 33 featuring seven boundaries, before Harris’s unbroken partnership of 53 with Deepti Sharma steered them to 4-143 with still 26 balls left.