Matthews hails fighting spirit despite Mumbai defeat

MUMBAI, India, CMC – All-rounder Hayley Matthews has praised the tenacity of Mumbai Indians’ bowlers even though the franchise suffered their first defeat of the inaugural Women’s Premier League here Saturday. Mumbai entered the contest at DY Patil Sports Academy unbeaten in five outings but failed to defend their 127 on a bowler-friendly pitch, going down by five wickets to UP Warriorz Women with three balls to spare

“As captain, [Harmanpreet Kaur] just backs her frontline bowlers to go out there and do that job [and] I think our bowlers went fantastically,” Matthews told a post-game media conference. “Any time you’ve got 127 runs to defend it’s going to be a hard job and I think we did really, really well to take that [game] to the last over.

“I think our frontline bowlers did a fantastic job and Harman backs each and every one of us every time we go out there and she did that [on Saturday]. Unfortunately, I don’t think we got enough runs on the board …”

Matthews top-scored with 35 while 20-year-old rising England star Issy Wong chipped in with a 19-ball 32 but Mumbai’s much-feared batting lineup stumbled for the first time in the tournament.

Facing a straightforward run chase, UP Warriorz Women were set back when Matthews removed Devika Vaidya for one in the second over with a single run on the board, the innings slumping to 27 for three at the start of the seventh over. A recovery came through the Australian pair of Grace Harris (39) and Tahlia McGrath (38), the pair posting 44 for the fourth wicket.

“I think we just had to stay in the game as much as we could,” explained Matthews, the only West Indies Women’s player involved in the tournament.

“We knew they were obviously two really dangerous players but we tried to get in as many dot balls as we could and we kind of knew something would happen eventually and we just had to wait on it.

“As I said, the bowlers did a great job to take 127 to the last over [but] the result didn’t go our way in the end.”

Matthews has been part of an impressive batting group that features the likes of Kaur, Wong, experienced England star Nat Sciver-Brunt and New Zealander Amelia Kerr.

And despite the below-par effort with the bat on Saturday, Matthews said she remained confident in the side’s run-scoring ability.

“I think our batting has been clicking very well for the entire tournament. Issy Wong came and had a fantastic inning at number six today so I wouldn’t say our batting order is a bit of a problem.

“It is a game of cricket and sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t, and I feel like with the bat towards the end, it didn’t go exactly how we would’ve liked it too.”

Mumbai top the league with 10 points but is just two ahead of Delhi Capitals.

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