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WPL 2024: Delhi Capitals coach Batty ‘proud’ of his team, defends decision to bowl Capsey in last over vs Mumbai Indians

Alice Capsey’s all-round effort for Delhi Capitals went in vain as Mumbai Indians began its Women’s Premier League (WPL) campaign with a win on Friday at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

S. Sajana’s last-ball six took the win away from the Capitals, but their coach, Jonathan Batty, is ‘proud’ of his team.

“It was an outstanding game of cricket to kick off this year’s WPL. Both sides played excellent cricket. We were pretty pleased at the halfway point. Mumbai Indians bowled superbly with the new ball and kept us under control, but we handled the pressure well,” Batty said after the match.

“If we had executed and been disciplined with the ball, we would have had a good chance of winning too. But I’m proud of all of the players for their outstanding performance,” he said.

With 12 runs required from the final over, Capitals turned to Capsey, who removed the well-set and dangerous Harmanpreet Kaur and Pooja Vastrakar, nearly sealing the game for last year’s losing finalist.

“We were reading the wicket, and it was tougher to bat against pace bowling. We tried to leave as many runs as possible for the Indians to score, and Capsey bowled brilliantly. Going from 12 off the last over to five off the final ball is an outstanding performance. Meg Lanning is an excellent captain; she goes with her gut feel and it was absolutely the right call to do that,” said Batty, justifying his decision to go with Capsey in the final over.

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The Bengaluru surface favoured the pacers over spinners. While Shabnim Ismail for MI and Marizanne Kapp for Capitals used the new ball effectively, both teams’ tweakers were hammered.

“It is a fresh wicket today. We played really well, all things considered. As the pitch starts to wear, then spinners may come in a little bit more here in Bangalore. And then we will have new pitches in Delhi where we head in the second half of the competition. I’m sure the spinners will have a big role to play in this tournament as it goes on,” said the coach.

Harmanpreet and opener Yastika Bhatia scored fifties to lead MI’s chase. The wicket-keeper batter helped MI reach 50 in the first six overs after Kapp started with a maiden. 

“It was a chasable score. The wicket had gotten better and the outfield was also very fast and there was a dew factor. I was not thinking about the score or the balls. I was playing according to the ball. I knew that if I did that right, other things would be taken care of.

“Whenever I’m playing in the PowerPlay, my role is of the aggressor so there is no pressure on Nat (Sciver-Brunt), Hayley (Matthews) or  Harry Di (Harmanpreet). I usually love playing in the PowerPlay because there are only two fielders outside the 30-yard circle so I just enjoy my time,” she said.

Mumbai dropped a couple of catches, giving reprieves to Capsey and Jemimah Rodrigues.

“It is a tough ground to field as the ball travels fast over here. Our players did a good job getting underneath the ball but catches get dropped by the best of the people, so I don’t think that’s an issue or a concern, but our aim will be that we just go for the catches and rest is not in our hands,” said Yastika.

The 2024 edition of the WPL will also serve as a platform for selecting the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, which begins in October in Bangladesh, but Yastika said that is not something she is thinking about.

“Every day, I strive to do my best. I’m not concerned with whether or not I’ll be able to compete in the World Cup. But, as an Indian team, we’re all on the same page, and we want to improve every day and get the most out of one another,” she said.

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