MUMBAI: Meg Lanning versus Harmanpreet Kaur. This duel needs no introduction. In the last three years, the two captains have come up against each other thrice in knockouts of marquee T20 tournaments. On all three occasions, Lanning has come out on top. The Women’s Premier League final, on Sunday, will be a different ball game.
Kaur, who’s leading Mumbai Indians, has Nat Sciver-Brunt, Hayley Matthews, Amelia Kerr, and Issy Wong in her corner. Meanwhile, Lanning had all the fun opening the batting for Delhi Capitals alongside Shafali Verma. In the bowling department, she has two world-class pacers in Marizanne Kapp and Shikha Pandey. It’s been the story of the inaugural edition of the WPL.
To share dressing rooms with international stars you had played against and making optimal use of the domestic players at their disposal. Kaur, who was at the receiving end of Sciver-Brunt’s blistering knock during the 2023 T20 World Cup, was cheering for the England all-rounder on Friday. Lanning, who was trying to stop Jemimah Rodrigues’ counterattack in Cape Town a month ago, has been in constant touch with the Indian batter whenever they have batted together.
Which is why, as Kaur and Lanning go up against each other this time around, it will not be the same. Both of them acknowledged as much on the eve of the final. However, the intrinsic contest between two top-tier athletes is something to look forward to. Lanning’s Australia have often brought out the best in Kaur as a player. No other team has challenged the juggernaut of Australia as much as India in the recent past. In fact, both Lanning and Kaur spoke about how they look at each other as captains.
“She’s shown that she is an excellent leader and gets results both individually and you know, within the team. So, I always look forward to challenges like that. It’s always a great contest coming up against a team led by Harman and I’m expecting exactly the same tomorrow (Sunday),” said Lanning on the Indian skipper who, too, did not shy away from appreciating the Australian’s ability to lead from the front. Irrespective of who comes out on top, it is going to be a historic day with the kind of response the tournament has had.
Then, there were two... Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians face-off in the final
Capitals pace attack vs MI top-order Delhi Capitals pacers, Shikha Pandey and Marizanne Kapp, have made a massive impact providing early breakthroughs. Against a team like Mumbai which bats deep, the duo’s show in the powerplay will hold the key. Meg Lanning will be expecting the experienced campaigners to set the tone early on.
Will Capitals go for batting depth? Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav neither bowled nor batted the last time Delhi played at the Brabourne Stadium. On a surface expected to be quicker than the DY Patil Stadium, it will be interesting to see if Delhi goes for an extra batter or even Tara Norris who took a fifer the last time she played at this venue.