Sajeevan Sajana hits last-ball six when 5 was needed, MI beat DC in WPL opener | Crickit

WPL 2024: Sajeevan Sajana's last-ball six wins it for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Capitals

By, Mumbai
Feb 24, 2024 06:34 AM IST

With 5 runs needed off the last ball, the 29-year-old sent the ball soaring over the rope to help MI complete the third-highest successful chase in WPL history

Heading towards the opening game of Women’s Premier League season two, a high-scoring last-ball thriller would’ve probably been at the top of the wish list for organisers and fans alike. At the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday, that’s exactly how things panned out as defending champions Mumbai Indians got the better of Delhi Capitals in what was a repeat of last year’s final.

Sajana remained unfazed and provided the game an unforgettable finish by hitting a six.
Sajana remained unfazed and provided the game an unforgettable finish by hitting a six.

Delhi Capitals were in a promising position after being asked to bat first as Alice Capsey (75 off 53) played the knock of the match to take them to 171/5. Mumbai Indians then stitched together a fine chase as Yastika Bhatia and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur struck half-centuries.

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However, with five needed off the last ball, Sajeevan Sajana, on debut, sent the ball soaring over the rope to help MI complete the third-highest successful chase in the WPL’s short history.

Sajeevan Sajana's last-ball six that lit up WPL and gave MI a winning start against DC

It was a glamorous start to the evening as Shah Rukh Khan led a bevy of Bollywood actors in a round of dance performances. The captains of the five teams – Harmanpreet Kaur (MI), Meg Lanning (DC), Alyssa Healy (UPW), Smriti Mandhana (RCB) and Beth Mooney (GG) – along with the BCCI top brass, led by president Roger Binny and secretary Jay Shah, got on the stage as well for photographs.

But once the cricket took centre stage, both teams went on to put on quite a show in front of a sizeable crowd.

South Africa pacer Shabnim Ismail, who was MI’s costliest player in the auction at 1.2 crore, wasted no time in showing her class and experience. Shafali Verma was cleaned up early and DC found themselves under pressure at 6/1 after three overs.

From there, however, Capsey launched a counterattack by going after every bowler in the MI attack. The 19-year-old, who edged out Australia’s Jess Jonassen for a spot in the playing XI, added a 64-run partnership with skipper Meg Lanning and a 74-run stand with Jemimah Rodrigues.

What stood out in Capsey’s knock was the way she used her feet. The right-hander kept lifting the ball over the infield and struck nine fours and three sixes in her knock. Shabnim (1/24) and left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque’s (0/17) tidy spells proved to be crucial for MI eventually.

“Loved being back, it’s an amazing competition to be a part of and I’m delighted to contribute,” said Capsey. “I’m feeling really fresh and in a good place to go out there and execute. Just wanted to put pressure on the bowlers in any way possible. I thought the partnership between me and Meg was really crucial, she’s really good at keeping things calm and clear.”

Things went from bad to worse for MI as they lost West Indies skipper Hayley Matthews, who won the Most Valuable Player award last season, off the second ball in the chase. Marizanne Kapp bowled a wicket-maiden first up and Shikha Pandey conceded just six runs in the second over.

But like Capsey earlier, Yastika Bhatia showed courage to go on the offensive. The keeper-batter played some classy strokes to release the pressure but MI were dealt a major blow again as Natalie Sciver-Brunt, who had starred in last year’s final, was sent packing by Arundhati Reddy.

Yastika was joined by Harmanpreet at the crease and the duo added 56 runs for the third wicket before Arundhati provided another breakthrough. Amelia Kerr chipped in with an 18-ball 24 but for MI to get over the line, they needed their captain to stay till the end.

Harmanpreet hit Annabel Sutherland for six off the last ball of the penultimate over to leave MI with 12 runs to get off the last over. Lanning put her faith in Capsey to get the job done and the off-spinner put DC in pole position by dismissing Harmanpreet. But Sajana remained unfazed and provided the game an unforgettable finish by hitting a six.

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