Meg Lanning’s magic touch runs out as Delhi slumps in Women’s Premier League final

Meg Lanning’s Midas touch deserted her in Mumbai as her Delhi Capitals team came up just short in an exciting final of the inaugural Women’s Premier League cricket tournament.

Despite Australia skipper Lanning again top-scoring for her team with 35, they stuttered to just 9-131 on Sunday, before the Mumbai Indians battled past the target on 3-134 for a hard-earned seven-wicket win with just three balls remaining.

Meg Lanning made a solid start for the Delhi Capitals, but her 35 was not quite enough to post a winning score in the WPL final.Credit:AP Photo

In front of Mumbai’s blue-clad army of fans in their home Brabourne Stadium, it was an emotional evening for India captain Harmanpreet Kaur, as she led her side to victory over her old Aussie rival to cap an enthralling first edition of the game-changing women’s league.

And in a competition which has featured so many standout performances by Australians, there was some irony in the fact that the only team that didn’t use a single Aussie in the tournament ended up winning.

“Mumbai deserved it, but I certainly can’t fault the effort from our team. We didn’t play our best game, but we fought right to the end. I’m very proud of our efforts,” Lanning said.

As ever, Lanning’s personal efforts could not be faulted as her hopes of adding the inaugural WPL title to her bustling trophy cabinet, which includes medals from seven white-ball world cup victories, a Commonwealth Games gold medal and three Australian T20 titles.

Mumbai Indians captain Harmanpreet Kaur, left, celebrates the dismissal of Meg Lanning during the Women’s Premier League Twenty20 cricket final.Credit:AP Photo

She ended up the orange cap holder as the tournament’s top scorer with a tally of 345 runs, and her shrewd captaincy kept Delhi in the hunt right until the penultimate over.

Delivered by Lanning’s Aussie teammate Jess Jonassen with the match still in the balance, that 19th over was clocked decisively for 16 runs by Nat Sciver-Brunt and Amelia Kerr, leaving Mumbai needing just five runs off the final six balls.

Brilliant English all-rounder Sciver-Brunt, exceptional throughout the tournament, then quickly finished the job with a clever paddled boundary that took her player-of-the-match innings to 60 not out off 55 balls and sparked ecstatic scenes.

It wasn’t a happy match for Jonassen, though, who had also earlier been responsible for a suicidal hit-and-run run-out of Lanning, attempting a reckless single that ended the captain’s promising 29-ball knock.

Nat Sciver-Brunt played the decisive innings in the Women’s Premier League final, winning the game for the Mumbai Indians and claiming the player of the match award.Credit:AP Photo

Ultimately, the Capitals had to bow to exceptional performances from Mumbai’s two star international all-rounders.

West Indian Hayley Matthews, the tournament’s MVP and top wicket-taker, bowled exceptionally to take 3-5 off four overs, which included 19 dot balls, while Sciver-Brunt then hit her third half-century to end up as second in the run-scoring lists with 332.

It could have been even worse for the Capitals after they’d been reduced to 9-79 if not for a remarkable 10th wicket partnership between Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav, who rattled off an unbeaten 52 between them off the last four overs.

“It’s been very enjoyable experience, I’ve loved every moment of it,” Lanning said, reflecting on her WPL experience.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and I just hope it continues to grow and get better each year, which I’ve no doubt it will.”

Her Indian adversary Harmanpreet, who’s so often come off second best against her Lanning, was left beaming after her own knock of 37 also proved crucial.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. It feels like a dream – not only for me but for everyone here,” she said.

“So many people were asking us when the WPL was going to come, and today is that day, and I’m so happy and so proud we did so well.”

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