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Shikha Pandey.
WPL, Delhi Capitals Will Always Have Special Place In My Heart, Will Try Harder Next Season: Pacer Shikha Pandey

Delhi Capitals and Indian pacer Shikha Pandey said on Monday that her experience of the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) was "really good" and her franchise will always have a special place in her heart. 

The Delhi Capitals fought till the very last over, but went down by seven wickets against Mumbai Indians in the Women's Premier League Final at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday. The Delhi Capitals posted 131/9 in their 20 overs before Mumbai Indians chased down the total in 19.3 overs.

Also read : '"Didn't Play Well Enough": Jonathan Batty After Losing To Mumbai Indians In WPL Final

Speaking about the Final, Delhi Capitals' all-rounder Shikha Pandey said: "All the conversations in the DC camp have been around being the best team players. The team that has the most team players usually wins. It did not work out for us this time, but I am sure we will have many more titles in the longer run. We will try harder next season."

Shika was the leading wicket-taker for DC this season, picking up 10 scalps in nine matches at an average of 21.10 and an economy rate of 6.59. His best bowling figures in the tournament were 3/23. 

The Delhi Capitals were in deep trouble at 79/9, but then Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav strung a 52-run partnership for the last wicket.

According to a DC press release, when asked about the unbeaten stand, Pandey said, "It would have been really nice to win the inaugural edition of the WPL. I can assure everyone that we tried our best. I was batting conservatively until Radha came in and played a big shot. And then she encouraged me to play my shots as well."

The all-rounder also spoke about what Captain Meg Lanning told the team before its bowling innings, "She just asked us to enjoy the game and bowl at our best. She also said that we play cricket for these challenging moments. I thought we could pull it off when we needed to defend 21 in the last two overs. But Amelia Kerr played some really good shots and Nat Sciver-Brunt also played a very good inning."

Pandey also summed up her experience at the WPL, "It was a really good tournament for me. The last one and a half years have been challenging for me. It was wonderful working with a great support staff and playing alongside legends. This tournament and DC will always have a special place in my heart."

Delhi Capitals could manage only 131/9 in their 20 overs. Though skipper Meg Lanning contributed a solid 35 off 29 balls at the top, Issy Wong (3/42) destroyed DC's top-order. Later, Hayley (3/5) and Amelia Kerr (2/18) caused the DC batting line-up to collapse from 73/3 to 79/9. It was only a final wicket partnership of 52 runs between Shikha Pandey (27*) and Radha Yadav (27*) that helped Delhi reach a modest total. 

In the chase of 132 runs, MI was reduced to 23/2 as openers Hayley Matthews (13) and Yastika Bhatia (4) fell for cheap. A 72-run stand for the third wicket between skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (37) and Nat Sciver brought MI back into the match. After Harman's run-out reduced MI to 95/3 in 16.1 overs, DC posed a slight threat to MI. But Sciver joined forces with Amelia (14*) to help MI complete the chase with three balls to go and finish at 134/3. Sciver played a knock of 60* in 55 balls, consisting of seven fours. 

Radha and Jess Jonassen got a wicket each for DC. 

Nat Sciver emerged as 'Player of the Match' for her match-winning fifty.

Lanning finished the tournament as the leading run-scorer, winning the 'Orange Cap'. She scored 345 runs in nine matches at an average of 49.28. She scored two half-centuries and her runs came at a strike rate of 139.11. Her best score in the tournament was 72. 

Hayley emerged as the 'Player of the Tournament' for her all-round performances that won MI the title. She won the 'Purple Cap' for taking the most wickets in the tournament, a total of 16, including a spell of 3/5 in the final. Hayley also scored 271 runs in 10 matches at an average of 30.11 and a strike rate of 126.04, with a best of 77*, which was her solitary fifty. 

Also read : Jay Shah Congratulates Mumbai Indians Team For Winning Inaugural Women's Premier League

Brief score: Delhi Capitals 131/9 (Meg Lanning 35, Radha Yadav 27; Hayley Matthews 3-5) vs Mumbai Indians 134/3 in 19.3 overs (Nat Sciver-Brunt 60*, Harmanpreet Kaur 37; Radha Yadav 1/24). (ANI)

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