MUMBAI: At 39/3 it looked like UP Warriorz would hit the panic button and go into a tailspin. But Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris steadied their innings and hit well-crafted half-centuries to guide Warriorz to a three-wicket win over Gujarat Giants and seal a WPL playoff spot on Monday.
The win for Warriorz, who moved to eight points from seven games, means Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore have been knocked out of the competition. Warriorz lost Alyssa Healy, Kiran Navgire and Devika Vaidya inside five overs and suddenly the target of 179 looked steeper than it was.
But the pair of McGrath (57, 38b; 11×4) and Harris (72, 41b; 7×4, 4×6) shared a fourth-wicket stand of 78 from 53 balls to set-up Warriorz’s fourth win of the tournament.
In their last match on Tuesday, they will play Delhi Capitals. First it was McGrath who took charge of the innings as she picked the right balls to hit and found the boundaries with precision. She brought up her third half-century of the competition before holing out at long-off off Ashleigh Gardner (1/29) in her endeavour to up the scoring rate.
WPL: Grace Harris special fires UP Warriorz into playoffs
<p>Grace Harris (72 off 41) once again set the stage on fire as UP Warriors beat Gujarat Giants in a last-over thriller.<br /></p>
<p>It was the second consecutive time in the tournament Warriorz defeated Giants by three wickets.<br /></p>
<p>With the close win, Warriorz secured a place in the playoffs of the inaugural WPL season.<br /></p>
<p>UP joined Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals in the knockouts while Giants and RCB now stand eliminated.<br /></p>
<p>Grace smashed the Giants attack to smithereens, hitting seven fours and four maximums in the chase of 179.<br /></p>
<p>Grace was involved in 2 crucial partnerships, with countrymate Tahlia McGrath (57) and Sophie Ecclestone (19*).<br /><br /></p>
<p>While Graces’ stand with McGrath was worth 78 runs, with Sophie it fetched 42, ensuring passage into knockouts.<br /></p>
<p>Warriors were down in the dumps at 39 for 3 but Grace and Tahlia stand led the recovery in the chase.<br /><br /></p>
<p>Earlier, a 93-run stand between Dayalan Hemalatha (57) and Ashleigh Gardner (60) took Giants to 178 in the do-or-die clash.<br /><br /></p>
<p>UP Warriorz will now take on Delhi Capitals in their final league match on Tuesday at the Brabourne Stadium.<br /></p>
The Warriorz hadn’t sealed the game yet, still requiring 61 in the last six overs. And with not much batting to come, they needed Harris to score the majority of the runs.
When McGrath was dismissed in the 14th over, Harris had scored 35 from 24 balls but she started to flex her muscles thereafter and scored her remaining 37 off just 17 balls to take the Warriorz to the verge of victory.
Sophie Ecclestone (19*, 13b; 2×2) then kept her nerves to take the team home with one ball to spare.
Earlier, Warriorz bowlers did well to restrict Giants to 178. SCORES: UP Warriorz Women 181/7 in 19.5 overs (G Harris 72, T McGrath 57; K Garth 2/29) beat Gujarat Giants Women 178/6 (A Gardner 60, D Hemalatha 57; P Chopra 2/29)