Deepti Sharma: Wanted the win to ensure UP Warriorz remains in WPL 2023 top-three

Over the years, Deepti Sharma has earned herself the finisher’s tag for her abilities to turn things around in challenging situations. And on Saturday, as UP Warriorz needed 22 off 24 deliveries to hand Mumbai Indians its first defeat in the Women’s Premier League, Deepti was at the crease along with England’s Sophie Ecclestone.

With Mumbai Indians bowlers trying hard for the breakthrough, Deepti and Ecclestone knew that it wouldn’t be an easy task. But they banked on their experience and guided the team home without further setbacks. While Deepti held fort, Ecclestone sealed it with a six to keep UP Warriorz in the hunt for a playoff berth.

“I knew that Sophie was with me and that we could hit boundaries. We were confident that we would take it to the end and finish the game. The pitch was slightly better than in the first innings as it was skidding a little bit more. The early few overs were difficult,” Deepti said after the game.

“We executed our plans well with the bat. The bowling unit did very nicely and (Grace) Harris also played a crucial role to get us back in the game,” she said.

After claiming a couple of wickets, Deepti’s unbeaten 13 was of immense significance to the team’s victory and she admitted that ahead of the game, the idea was to look at the positives. “We were just talking about how to concentrate on the positives and to play as a unit. I wanted to take the team past the finish line to ensure that we remain in the top-three,” Deepti, who was adjudged the player of the match, said.

After restricting Mumbai Indians to 127, Deepti did not imagine that she would get an opportunity to bat. “The target was less, so I thought that our top-order would finish it off. So, I did not think too much about my batting,” she said.

“But even as wickets fell, we kept backing each other and there was no pressure in the dressing room. (Tahlia) McGrath and Harris were around, so we were taking among ourselves that we should be ready for whatever opportunity comes out way…”

The win not only boosted the team’s confidence and put it in the third spot on the points table, but also reignited its hopes of reaching the playoffs. 

“There’s no pressure. We are taking one match at a time and we are focusing on our team rather than thinking of others. We need to play as a team and back each other and that’s reflecting in our performances,” Deepti said.

The Warriorz will be up against Gujarat Giants in a must-win match on Monday.

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