Amazing Grace Harris wows WPL with 22-run winning over
Australian World Cup winner Grace Harris has become the talk of the new Women's Premier League in India after she smashed 22 off the final over to guide her UP Warriorz team to an astonishing opening victory in Mumbai.
Needing an unlikely 19 off the last over to beat Gujarat Giants on Sunday, the big-hitting allrounder smashed two sixes, two fours and a two to secure the win against Gujarat Giants.
It completed a fine day for the new league's Australian stars who a week earlier lifted the T20 World Cup in South Africa.
Australia's captain marvel Meg Lanning earlier made a dazzling start as skipper of Delhi Capitals, with a blistering knock of 72 that set up their emphatic 60-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Brabourne Stadium.
But it was nothing compared to the victory later at the DY Patil Stadium eked out by fellow Australian star Alyssa Healy's Warriorz team, thanks to the heroics of Harris.
"Grace is Grace - that's the only way to describe her," smiled Healy, after Harris's brilliant unbeaten 59 off 26 balls had carved out victory, the Lucknow-based Warriorz chasing down Gujarat's 6-169 to win by three wickets with just one ball to spare.
A couple of Australians didn't join in the party, though. One was Annabel Sutherland, the unfortunate soul who delivered the fateful last over, which went for 24 runs in all, with two wides thrown in before Harris clocked a full-toss over deep backward square for the winning six.
The other was Gujarat captain Beth Mooney, unable to take the field at all after injuring her knee in Saturday's launch match.
With two defeats already, the experienced champion opener will be much needed but she won't know the extent of the knee problem until Monday.
Player of the match Harris, one of the great characters of the Australian game, was suitably modest after her heroics, suggesting: "I started poorly and I thought I was fluffing around."
But putting on an unbroken 70 off just 26 balls with English spin star Sophie Ecclestone, Harris ensured the last over went for six, wide, two, four, wide, four and six.
"Great feeling to finish over the line. No hassle, good fun, drinks and burgers at the end of the day!" she laughed.
Earlier, Lanning, who's been at the heart of Australian women's cricket domination for a decade, was relishing her new challenge in the potentially game-changing league, featuring all the best players in the world.
"It was a lot of fun," enthused the seven-time world champion.
"The crowd was amazing, the atmosphere was great and it's nice to start off with a win. It was very important to get some momentum early."
She smashed 14 boundaries in her 43-ball innings, while sharing a hugely entertaining opening stand of 162 with teenage Indian star Shafali Verma (84 off 45 balls) as Delhi went on to a mammoth 2-223.
Lanning's World Cup-winning colleagues on Bangalore's side took plenty of tap, with Aussie pace bowler Megan Schutt being hammered for 45 off her four wicketless overs.
Another Australian world champion Ellyse Perry offered a bit of fight for RCB, hitting 31 off 19 balls but she was bowled by American player of the match Tara Norris, who skittled through their line-up with 5-29 off her four overs.
Schutt smacked a defiant unbeaten 30 off 19 balls at the end of the innings, but they were consolation runs as Bangalore finished well short on 8-163.