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Delhi Capitals reach WPL final directly once again, Shafali Verma puts on a super show against Gujarat Giants

Meg Lanning’s team enters title clash with a thoroughly professional display against the laggards of the league.

Seven fours, five sixes, and an all-round confident performance. If there was anything to perfectly encapsulate Delhi Capitals’ dominance over Gujarat Giants, it was Shafali Verma’s belligerence with the bat, hitting a 37-ball 71 to take her team to a seven-wicket win, chasing down 126 with almost seven overs to spare in the final league match of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) on Wednesday.

Skipper Meg Lanning may have once again become the leading run-scorer of the tournament, but after her early run-out and Alice Capsey’s wicket caused a slight wobble, it was Shafali who took control with the bat to obliterate Gujarat’s limp bowling attack.

The 20-year-old opener proved she is not simply an aggressor at the top, but also has the ability to pace her innings and see a run-chase through to the end. She rotated strike effectively, and walloped the balls in the V. Ash Gardner may be the most pedigreed bowler in the Gujarat side, but Shafali tore through her with three sixes and a four.

A clinical chase and a superb seven-wicket win!@DelhiCapitals are through to the #TATAWPL Final 🙌

Scorecard 💻📱

— Women’s Premier League (WPL) (@wplt20) March 13, 2024

With the win, Delhi go straight to the final and remain firm favourites at home while Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore face each other for a place in the title clash.

This was a match between a team that was all but confirmed to go straight to the final, and a team that was all but confirmed to finish last. And it showed.

Lanning’s captaincy calls bore fruit, as she managed her bowlers smartly to keep the Giants batters guessing. The team’s sharpness was evident on the field as they hardly gave anything away.

Gujarat Giants proved to be a disappointment that they have been in so many matches throughout both seasons of the league – uncoordinated, inexperienced, wasteful. The combination of top-level international players that they bet so big on simply has not worked.

2️⃣ x MAXIMUMS 💥@TheShafaliVerma hitting the ball over the line with ease

Live 💻📱 | #DCvGG | @DelhiCapitals

— Women’s Premier League (WPL) (@wplt20) March 13, 2024

Once Beth Mooney departed early to a Marizanne Kapp ripper, the team collapsed. The investment in Gardner and Phoebe Litchfield (who had a high-scoring outing during Australia’s recent tour of India) didn’t give adequate returns. Gardner scored 12, bringing her tournament total to 120. Litchfield hit 21 of her 108 runs this fortnight. Neither have been significant contributors in any of the eight matches.

There was a late flourish from Bharti Fulmali, but after her team had been reduced to 48/5 within the first half of their innings, her 36-ball 42 would be utterly in vain, only allowing her side to crawl to 126/9.

Brief scores: Gujarat Giants 126/9 in 20 overs (Bharti Fulmali 42; Minnu Mani 2/9) lost to Delhi Capitals 129/3 in 13.1 overs (Shafali Verma 71; Tanuja Kanwar 2/20) by seven wickets.

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