WPL 2024: 'I just played the ball on merit, my natural game', says Kiran Navgire

February 29, 2024
After slamming a match-winning half-century against Mumbai Indians to give UP Warriorz their first win of 2024 Women’s Premier League

Bengaluru, Feb 29 (IANS) After slamming a match-winning half-century against Mumbai Indians to give UP Warriorz their first win of 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL), batter Kiran Navgire said she stuck to playing the ball on merit and brought out her natural game in her sudden promotion to opening the batting.

While restricting Mumbai Indians to 161/6, Warriorz’ designated opener Vrinda Dinesh suffered a freak shoulder injury while fielding in the 14th over, which meant Kiran had to open the batting alongside captain Alyssa Healy.

It was a role Kiran was previously familiar with – having opened for Nagaland and Maharashtra in domestic cricket, where she made runs for fun. Kiran made her promotion count by smashing an eye-catching 31-ball 57, laced with six fours and four sixes, setting the base for the Warriorz’ getting a seven-wicket win.

“When the innings ended the head coach (Jon Lewis) came up to me and said I had to open. I was happy, because I open the batting in domestic cricket, and I had the chance to do that here.

“I just played the ball on merit, played my natural game. If the ball is in my arc, it should go into the stands – that is my natural thought,” said Kiran after the match ended.

The most standout aspect of Kiran’s knock was her clean bat swing in hitting the boundaries against both pacers and spinners, apart from using the crease well and assuredness in her footwork, which got the crowd to cheer for her at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Kiran also played a big part in the Warriorz’ taking 61 runs off the power-play alongside Alyssa, as the pair had a 94-run opening partnership.

“She was telling me to take my time while batting since I had the strength and make up later. She urged me to stay in the middle and asked me to play the ball on merit. I had an easy plan to just do that. She was telling me where the overseas bowlers would bowl to me,” she added.

Speaking about how Vrinda was, Kiran said, “She is getting scanned in the hospital, as we are waiting for an update.”

Asked if Kiran had opened if Vrinda wasn’t injured, Alyssa said, “Probably not. Things happen for a reason. She’s made a strong case moving forward as to why she should be doing it.”

Charlotte Edwards, Mumbai Indians’ head coach, admitted her team were taken by surprise over Kiran’s free-spirited batting display as the defending champions were handed their first loss of the current tournament.

“Kiran Navgire played brilliantly tonight and kind of took the game away from us in the period that she batted and we never quite recovered. Firstly, I don’t think Navgire was going to open. The injury (to Vrinda), I guess, gave them a licence to put her up in the order. We weren’t completely quite planning for her in the batting,” said Edwards.



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