Mumbai Indians 134 for 3 (Sciver-Brunt 60*, Harmanpreet 37) beat Delhi Capitals 131 for 9 (Lanning 35, Pandey 27*, Radha 27*, Matthews 3-5, Wong 3-42) by seven wickets

Mumbai Indians are the inaugural WPL champions.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s team had upstaged Meg Lanning’s, finally. What looked like a one-sided fare turned out to be quite the nail-biter, as the grand final ended in a last-over finish few would’ve thought was possible at one stage.

Delhi Capitals were on life support at 79 for 9. If this had been a wrestling bout, this is the point it would’ve been called off. But sensational efforts from Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav helped them post a total of 131. From there, their bowlers took it down to the final two overs with Mumbai needing 21.

Having held on for so long, Capitals crumbled at this most crucial moment as Nat Sciver-Brunt exhibited a fine combination of calm and cheek. After steadying the innings with a 52-ball half-century, she swept the first ball of the 19th over from Jess Jonassen to the boundary. It had a deflating effect on the Capitals.

Amelia Kerr managed to pick off two more fours to take them to the doorstep. Sciver-Brunt then fittingly finished the game off when she paddled Alice Capsey past short fine. She remained unbeaten on 60 as Mumbai bossed their way to the inaugural WPL title.

Wong’s three wickets off full tosses

Shafali Verma, Alice Capsey, Jemimah Rodrigues.

Issy Wong will remember these three names for a long time to come. Not because they’re all high-quality batters, but because she managed to prise them all out with full tosses to leave the Capitals reeling at 35 for 3 in the fifth over.

Shafali’s wicket, in particular, brought with it plenty of drama with the umpires checking for a no-ball. It was a tight call as the batter spooned a full toss that was close to waist high for a catch at backward point. Multiple replays later, Shafali was ruled out prompting an animated exchange between Lanning and the officials.

Two balls later, Capsey bunted a full toss to short cover for a two-ball duck to end an impressive sequence of scores – 34, 38*, 22 and 38 – since her promotion to No. 3.

In Wong’s next over, Rodrigues, who began with two scintillating cover drives, was out slicing a juicy full toss to backward point.

The Lanning run out twist

Lanning continued to counter-punch, quickly putting on 38 with Marizanne Kapp before Capitals lost both of them in the space of eight deliveries.

Kapp was caught behind off a sharp Kerr legbreak and Lanning was sold a dummy by her Australian team-mate Jonassen; the two batters failing to communicate properly as they tried to nick a sharp single to short cover. This marked the start of a sensational collapse as Capitals went from 73 for 3 to 79 for 9.

Hayley Matthews, who found no bidders in the first round of the WPL auction, came into her own with an incredible display of offspin, finishing with figures of 3 for 5 off her four overs.

The icing on the cake being was her third strike, when she drew Taniya Bhatia forward and beat her in the air and off the pitch to bowl her on the inside edge. That wicket also made her the most successful bowler in the competition with 16 scalps.

Pandey and Yadav’s last stand

Batting for only the second time in the competition, Pandey decided she wasn’t going to throw in the towel. In Yadav, she found an ally as the two put on an unreal 52 off 24 balls for the last wicket.

Pandey triggered the change of fortunes in the penultimate over when she walloped Wong inside-out for six over cover and followed that with a superb pull to the square leg fence.

Yadav then ensured a proper pendulum swing by muscling Sciver-Brunt for two big sixes to end the innings. Pandey finished 27 not out off 17 balls while Yadav had ransacked 27 off 12.

The Capitals suddenly had hope.

Mumbai rocked early

Wickets off full tosses continued to make an appearance when Yastika Bhatia heaved Yadav to deep midwicket to give Capitals an early strike. Between overs 2.3 and 7.2, Capitals kept the pressure up, not allowing Mumbai to score a single boundary. The big bonus in between was the wicket of Matthews, who was caught brilliantly by Arundhati Reddy at short midwicket off Jonassen to leave Mumbai at 23 for 2.

Harmanpreet and Sciver-Brunt allay nerves

Capitals were sharpening their axe. Lanning’s tactful field placement had choked the run-flow. Harmanpreet was struggling on 2 off 9. Sciver-Brunt was on 7 off 18.

The England allrounder broke the deadlock with a neat inside-out lift over extra cover in the eighth over and from thereon, Mumbai found boundaries with regularity.

As she found her touch, Harmanpreet brought out her powerful sweeps and pulls to make up for her slow start. Sciver-Brunt was more calculative and artisan-like, using the pace of the ball to score on both sides of the wicket in the V right behind her.

Without playing a shot in anger, the pair raised a 72-run stand to put Mumbai on the road to victory. Then came another twist. Harmanpreet’s run-out with 37 needed off 23.

But Kerr proved why she’s a top-class allrounder. She hit Jonassen for two boundaries in a 19th over that went for 16 runs. At that point, you knew the pendulum had truly swung Mumbai’s way.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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