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WPL: League stage concludes, DC qualifies for final; UPW, MI to fight for spot in summit clash

Mumbai: Delhi Capitals is the first finalist of the ongoing Women's Premier League (WPL) after a five-wicket win over UP Warriorz in the final league stage match at the Brabourne Stadium, with the north-Indian side set to take on Mumbai Indians on March 24 in the eliminator to determine the second finalist.
DC finished at the top spot with six wins, two losses, and 12 points in total. MI has similar statistics, but was pushed to the second due to an inferior net run rate. UP Warriorz finished at the third spot with four wins and four losses and a total of eight points. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Giants are out of the tournament and have finished with two wins, six losses and four points each. Gujarat Giants is at the bottom of the table.

In the first match of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) finished at 125/9 in 20 overs. Richa Ghosh and Ellyse Perry (29 each) finished as the top scorers for their sides and opener Smriti Mandhana (24) was the only one besides Ghosh and Perry to cross the 20-run mark. Amelia Kerr (3/22) was the pick of the bowlers for MI.
MI chased down the total in 16.3 overs. Though RCB bowlers tried to pose a challenge, knocks from Amelia (31*), Yastika (30) and Hayley Matthews (24) helped MI cruise to victory. Kanika Ahuja (2/5) was the pick of the bowlers for RCB.
MI Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said at the post-match presentation, "Winning is always important to get the momentum going. When you lose, it can be negative feelings. But everyone was talking how to win this. In the last two games, we were not able to do what we were trying to do. But we discussed today as to how to go about it. For us, winning the game was important. When we got a good start, we were trying to chase it down inside 15 overs. After losing my wicket, we played a little sensibly. Amelia is always keen to do well for the team. She always wants to do well for the team."
RCB skipper Smriti Mandhana said: "We tried to fight. Kanika bowled well. One of those days as a fielder when which of the ball goes in the air comes to you. We were below par today. We have a great team. We have a balanced team. Won't say we don't have a great team because we have not done well. We had some amazing players. The first four-five games did not go our way. My personal form wasn't great. We didn't get great starts. Sometimes things do not go as you have planned. We will come back stronger next season. We have found some amazing youngsters in Shreyanka Patil and Kanika Ahuja They have been fearless. Was pleasing to see as a skipper. Asha bowled very well too."

In the second match, UP Warriorz put on a fighting total of 138/6 thanks to a fighting fifty from all-rounder Tahlia McGrath (58*) and skipper Alyssa Healy (36) knock. Alice Capsey, the 18-year all-rounder from England was the standout bowler with 3/26.
Chasing 139, DC started off with a strong 56-run stand between Meg Lanning (39) and Shafali Verma (21). Knocks from Alice Capsey (34) and Marizanne Kapp (34) took Delhi Capitals to a win with 13 balls to spare.
Shabnim Ismail (2/29) was the pick of the bowlers for UPW.
Following the match, UPW skipper Healy said: "We also were given an oppurtunity to players to rest. Credit to Ismail. She got a couple of wickets. Gave us a sniff. I could not hit it off the square. We were looking for a total to bowl at. The wicket was turning and gripping. We would have loved to bat at a faster clip. Hopefully, we will reflect on what went wrong. We will reflect quickly as well. I am excited to be a part of the finals. DY Patil will be chock-a-block."
DC skipper Lanning said the team was not at its best.
"Just wanted the team to win and help the unit. I do not think we were at our best. We were sloppy on the field. Was a reasonable wicket. We got off to a flier and helped us when it started to turn. It seemed it came nicely with the new ball. They bowled a fair bit of spin towards the back end. We got some depth in batting. We have one big game to go. Hopefully, we will nail that. We will rest for a couple of days before the big game." (ANI)

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