WPL 2024: Young Pacer Shabnam Shakil Blows Away UP Warriorz’s Chance Of Qualification

Sixteen-year-old pacer Shabnam Shakil announced her arrival on the big stage with brilliant figures of 3/11 to negate Deepti Sharma’s brilliance as Gujarat Giants all but dashed UP Warriorz’s hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages with an eight-run victory in the Women’s Premier League on Monday. Warriorz, with a negative net run-rate of -0.371, needed to win to have any chance of qualification but despite Deepti’s unbeaten 88 off 60 balls, Warriorz could only end up with 144 for 5, chasing a target of 153 set by the Giants. India international Deepti smashed nine fours, while her partner Poonam Khemnar scored 36 off as many balls. But the Warriorz had already lost steam after being reduced to 35 for 5 and it was always going to be a catch-up game for Healy’s women.

They ended their eight-game campaign with six points. Even if RCB lose their last game, the Bengaluru side would still enjoy a better net run-rate unless they lose by a massive margin.

Shabnam, playing only her second game of the season, removed seasoned campaigners Alyssa Healy, Chamari Athapaththu and her former India U-19 teammate Shweta Sehrawat to dash any hopes that Warriorz harboured of finishing in the top three.

Bowling with a high-arm action and pronounced jump, the neat six-foot-tall girl got extra bounce and the subtle movement off the seam also did work wonders for her.

Earlier, UP Warriorz’s spin troika of Sophie Ecclestone, Deepti Sharma and Rajeswari Gayakwad made life miserable for wooden spooners Gujarat Giants before Beth Mooney’s unbeaten 74 gave them some breathing space with a total of 152 for 8.

Young Indian fielders in the Warriorz side committed basic mistakes in catching and holding fort in the deep, which cost the team an extra 25 runs.

Ecclestone (3/38 in 4 overs), Deepti (2/22 in 4 overs) and Gayakwad (1/28 in 4 overs) tightened the noose on the Giants after Mooney and Wolvaardt (43 off 30 balls) added 60 in 7.5 overs to lay a solid foundation.

However things went haywire from thereon for the Giants as once Wolvardt was dismissed, Ecclestone and Deepti choked the run-flow and got the valuable wickets in the process.

Gujarat’s Indian talent has been below par, and once again the likes of Bharati Fulmali, Dayalan Hemlatha and Tanuja Kanwer flattered to deceive with poor game sense and shot selection that left a lot to be desired.

With Phoebe Litchfield and Ashleigh Gardner struggling this season, there has been a lot of pressure on Wolvardt and Mooney.

Mooney, for a better part of her knock, scored at a run-a-ball and then the profligacy of the UP Warriorz fielders helped her get some extra boundaries.

The likes of Shweta Sehrawat, Poonam Khemnar and Saima Thakor are still not ready for top-flight cricket and some distance away from being decent fielders for this level.

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