“Yastika is an unbelievable talent”, says Charlotte Edwards

In a thrilling clash between Mumbai Indians and UP Warriorz, in the ongoing 02 edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), winning the toss UP Warriorz opted to field first against Mumbai Indians. Nat Sciver Brunt took charge as skipper with regular captain Harmanpreet Kaur rested due to a niggle. While Yastika was praised by MI’s Head Coach.

"Yastika is an unbelievable talent", says Charlotte Edwards
“Yastika is an unbelievable talent”, says Charlotte Edwards

Mumbai’s openers laid a solid foundation with a 50-run partnership, setting the stage for a formidable total. However, Grace Harris struck for UP Warriorz dismissing Yastika Bhatia. Despite the setback, Mumbai Indians continued to build their innings, courtesy of a crucial 42-run partnership between Sciver Brunt and Hayley Matthews, but a miscommunication led to the former being run out, this marked a turning point but Matthews anchored the innings with her well, scoring 55 runs on the board.

Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, and Issy Wong’s cameos of 23, 28, and 15 runs respectively helped Mumbai Indians conclude their innings at 161 runs against 6 wickets.

Chasing a challenging target of 162, UP Warriorz’s openers Alyssa Healy and Kiran Navgire provided their team with a strong start, especially Navgire’s aggressive approach, which put Mumbai Indians on the back foot. In the tenth over, Amelia Kerr got the first breakthrough for her team, sending Navgire for 57 runs. In the following over, Wong struck twice, dismissing the UP skipper and Tahlia McGrath which halted Warriorz’s momentum with the score at 98/3.

Deepti Sharma and Grace Harris formed a resilient partnership, guiding UP Warriorz towards victory, despite Mumbai Indian’s efforts to contain the run flow Sharma and Harris remained composed securing a 7-wicket win for their team. Navgire’s explosive 57 off 31 balls earned her the Player of the Match award for her pivotal role in UP Warriorz’s successful run chase.

Post-match, Mumbai Indians Head Coach, Charlotte Edwards and Batter, Kiran Navgire, UP Warriorz addressed a press conference at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

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Kiran Navgire, the player of the match shared some insightful reflections into the journey behind her immense passion, dedication, and a keen understanding of her strengths and weaknesses. Navgire’s commitment to self-improvement is evident as she highlights the specific areas she focused on during his preparation.

Navgire acknowledged the time she had spent improving her skills, working harder on her fitness and fielding, and focused more on sharpening her power-hitting abilities so that she could contribute more for her team, as she did with her resilient knock of 57 runs with a whopping 183.87 strike rate against Mumbai Indians.

She offers a glimpse into this journey as she mentions, “I have been in the camp for a long time. Last year I was a bit weak in the departments of fielding and fitness, hence this time, I worked more in the areas of fielding and fitness and I have also worked hard in the batting as well. As I usually do range hitting, how can I contribute as a finisher, I was able to focus more on all these factors this time”.

Navgire opens for Nagaland in the domestic tournaments, but she used to bat in the middle order for her team in WPL. However, in the match against Mumbai, she received the opportunity to open for her team, as during the first innings, the usual opener Vrinda Dinesh, got injured while stopping a boundary for which Vrinda was immediately sent to the hospital for scans.

Navgire acknowledged the trust of her team’s head coach Jon Lewis in her opening innings. Navgire’s adaptability shines through as she seamlessly transitions to her new role, drawing upon her experience from domestic and emphasizing her instinctive approach of hitting the balls.

While highlighting enjoying the game she stated, “After the innings, when the head coach informed me that I will open the innings today, I got happy as I am used to open at the domestic tournaments, so it was my chance and play accordingly to the ball, which is my natural gameplay – that if the ball falls short then I should hit it in a way that it should go to the stands – so that’s my natural thought and I know how to enjoy my game so I was just enjoying.”

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Mumbai Indians’ head coach, Charlotte Edwards quoted the Indian cricketer, Yastika Bhatia as an ‘unbelievable talent’, predicting a bright future for the young player. Edwards expressed her admiration for Yastika Bhatia’s skills and potential, emphasizing her as one of her favorite players to watch.

Fondly referring to her as ‘Yassy B’, Edwards highlighted Yastika Bhatia’s aggressive style of play and her ability to take on challenges with confidence. She commented, “I call her Yassy, she’s an unbelievable talent and I think, she’s gonna play for India for a, for a number of years, and I think we’re all starting to see a glimpse of what she can do, India has got a gem there I think.”

Further, when Charlotte Edwards was asked to comment upon the dropped catches, she made comments attributing dropped catches in WPL is due to the lack of experience playing under lights, particularly among domestic players. While her remarks attempt to shed light on a possible cause, they fail to address other significant factors at play, such as individual skill levels, but she hinted at the possibility that the height or positioning of the lights could have been a contributing factor.

“We haven’t dropped too many, so I’m pretty happy, but, I guess, I think the main reason would be that the fact that, you know, a lot of domestic players don’t play under lights and, other than that I’ve not been out there so I can’t tell you about the height of the lights, but, yeah, there have been a few put down throughout the tournament.”

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