MUMBAI: An explosive half century by Sophie Devine and her 125-run partnership with Smriti Mandhana helped Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) clinch an eight-wicket win over Gujarat Giants in a Women’s Premier League (WPL) match at Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.
The explosive run-chase has helped RCB climb to the fourth spot in the points table, with two wins and five losses in seven matches. They have a total of four points. The Gujarat Giants have similar figures in the points table, but RCB have better run rate.
Chasing 189 runs, RCB were off to an explosive start. Openers Sophie Devine and Smriti Mandhana showed no mercy on Gujarat Giants bowlers, smashing them across the boundary line or into the stands whenever the opportunity presented. Devine was more aggressive of both batters.
Devine went bersek in the second over, smashing Ashleigh Gardner for dot,6,4,4,6,4 and 24 runs came in the over. The RCB were at 37/0 at this stage. Such was the carnage unleashed by RCB batters that the side crossed 50-run mark in just 3.4 overs. At the end of the powerplay in six overs, RCB were at 77/0, with Devine (36*) and Mandhana (32*) unbeaten at the crease.
Devine brought up her half-century in just 20 balls and it consisted six fours and four sixes. While Mandhana hit some big shots from the other end, she played the anchor role to let Devine express herself and play with freedom. RCB crossed the 100-run mark in just eight overs.
Devine smashed Tanuja Kanwar for three sixes and a four in the ninth over and RCB got 25 runs from the ninth over. RCB were at 125/0 in 9 overs, with Devine at 78 in just 26 balls, consisting of seven fours and seven sixes.
In the battle of skippers, Sneh Rana emerged superior, dismissing Smriti for 37 of 31 balls. Her knock consisted of five fours and a six. RCB were finally one wicket down at 125 runs. At the end of 10 overs, RCB were at 131/1, with Devine (79*) joined by Ellyse Perry, who announced her arrival with a stylish boundary on her very first ball.
Devine continued to hit big. RCB crossed the 150-run mark in 11.1 overs. Devine was dismissed for 99 of 36 balls, missing out on a well-deserved ton. She was dismissed by Kim Garth and caught by Ashwani Kumari. Her knock had nine fours and eight sixes. RCB was 157/2 in 11.5 overs.
Heather Knight was next up on the crease. Knight and Perry took RCB to a memorable win. RCB finished their innings at 189/2 in 15.3 overs, with Perry (19*) and Knight (22*) unbeaten. Rana and Garth took a wicket each for GG.
Earlier top knocks from opener Laura Wolvaardt and all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner helped Gujarat Giants reach a total of 188/4. Electing to bat first, Gujarat Giants did not have a very good start as they lost opener Sophia Dunkley for 16 off 10 balls after a Sophie Devine delivery crashed into her leg stump. GG were 27/1 in 2.4 overs.
Following this, the pair of Laura Wolvaardt and Sabbhineni Meghana started to rebuild the innings. They helped GG move through the remainder of the powerplay without any damage. At the end of the powerplay in six overs, GG were 45/1, with Sabbhineni Meghana (6*) and Laura Wolvaardt (22*) unbeaten.
GG crossed the 50-run mark in seven overs. The duo brought up their fifty-run stand in 43 balls. Halfway through the innings at 10 overs, GG were at 78/1, with Wolvaardt (39*) and Meghana (22*) at the crease.
Preeti Bose earned her side a key breakthrough. She dismissed Meghana for 31 off 32 balls, consisting of four boundaries after she was stumped by wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh. The 63-run stand for the second wicket was over. GG were 90/2 at that point in 11.5 overs.
A four from Wolvaardt helped GG cross the 100-run mark in 13.3 overs. Wolvaardt brought up her 50 in 35 balls, consisting of eight fours and a six. This was her second fifty in WPL. At the end of 15 overs, UPW were at 121/2, with Ashleigh Gardner (15*) and Wolvaardt (56*) unbeaten. Gardner and Wolvaardt brought up their 50-run stand in just 30 balls.
Shreyanka Patil ended opener Wolvaardt’s stay at the crease, dismissing her for 68 off 42 balls consisting of nine fours and two sixes. GG were 142/3 in 17 overs. She got another big wicket of Gardner, dismissing her for 45 off 26 balls, a knock which had six fours and a six. GG were at 161/4 in 18.3 overs.
Harleen Deol came down the order and, along with Dayalan Hemalatha, made sure her side finished with a bang. They smashed Megan Schutt for two fours and two sixes in the final over. GG ended the innings at 188/4 in 20 overs, taking 22 runs in the final over.
Shreyanka (2/17) was the pick of the bowlers for RCB. Devine and Bose got a wicket each.
Brief scores: Gujarat Giants: 188/4 (Laura Wolvaardt 63, Ashleigh Gardner 41, Shreyanka Patil 2/17) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore. (ANI)