WPL 2024: Batters may dominate RCB-MI Eliminator clash

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 14, 2024 IST

Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana

New Delhi, March 14: In the inaugural season of the WPL, much was expected from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), considering their exciting mix of players from domestic and international levels.

But it didn’t pan out that way, as RCB lost their first five matches on the trot and missed the bus for the knockouts, with Mumbai Indians winning the title. Cut to now, and RCB have managed to enter the knockouts, a target which they had been keen to make the cut for, via much improved showings with both bat and ball.

At the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Friday, the Smriti Mandhana-led RCB will face Harmanpreet Kaur-captained MI in a high-stakes eliminator with the aim of setting up a title clash against a formidable Delhi Capitals on Sunday. For entering the playoffs, RCB had to do two things: beat DC and MI in their last two league games.

While they missed out on beating DC by a solitary run in front of 23,453 spectator, the UP Warriorz losing to Gujarat Giants by eight runs rekindled RCB’s hopes of entering knockouts. Their equation to enter the next round was, to simply put, in their own hands: beat MI, something they never did previously in the WPL.

RCB’s path to qualifying for the knockouts was paved by Ellyse Perry’s astonishing exhibition of swing and seam to scythe through MI’s batting with a sensational 6-15, the best-ever WPL figures, to bowl out the defending champions for 113. Later, she made 40 off 38 balls with the bat, putting on a 76-run stand with Richa Ghosh, who was not out on 36 off 28 balls.

So far in the tournament, RCB have been well-served by Smriti getting the runs (259 runs in eight games) and looking at her assured best as a leader. Ellyse has been top-class with her all-round skills (246 runs and six scalps), while Richa is having a good time with bat and gloves (226 runs, along with two catches, four run-outs and eight stumpings).

With the ball, Asha Sobhana has been their leading wicket-taker with nine scalps in the league stage, along with Sophie Molineux, Sabbhineni Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Shreyanka Patil (who injured her ankle in the last game) and Renuka Singh Thakur chipping in with contributions.

What they need to be wary of is not letting the opposition get off the hook at any given point in the game, whether it’s with the bat, ball or with ground fielding. They would also require for people beyond the triumvirate of Smriti, Ellyse and Richa to have more impactful roles in the all-important eliminator.

On the other hand, MI have been clinical in terms of the playing eleven balance and dishing out match-winning performances, though they couldn’t withstand the Ellyse storm with the ball on Tuesday.

Harmanpreet has being their leading run-getter with 235 runs in six games, while Amanjot Kaur, Sajana Sajeevan and Yastika Bhatia have made notable contributions with the bat. With the ball, Shabnim Ismail and Hayley Matthews have done the containing job in the power-play.

Before going wicketless against RCB, Saika Ishaque took at least a wicket in four consecutive games for MI. All-round abilities of Amelia Kerr and Nat Sciver-Brunt are absolute assets for the current cup holders. But Mi need to be careful about not losing wickets in clusters, something which has been a major pocket of weakness for them so far.

As the tournament reaches its business end and fans expected to pack the stadium to brim, it’s an opportunity for both RCB and MI to sort out their plans, improve upon their previous shortcomings so that they can rise to the big occasion and emerge as victors to go one step closer towards winning the WPL trophy.

Squads

Mumbai Indians: Amanjot Kaur, Amelia Kerr, Chloe Tyron, Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Hayley Matthews, Humairaa Kaazi, Isabelle Wong, Jintimani Kalita, Natalie Sciver-Brunt, Pooja Vastrakar, Priyanka Bala, Saika Ishaque, Yastika Bhatia, Shabnim Ismail, Sajeevan Sajana, Amandeep Kaur, Fatima Jaffer and Keerthana Balakrishnan

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Smriti Mandhana (captain), Asha Sobhana Joy, Disha Kasat, Ellyse Perry, Nadine de Klerk, Indrani Roy, Shraddha Pokharkar, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, Shreyanka Patil, Sophie Devine, Georgia Wareham, Ekta Bisht, Kate Cross, Shubha Satheesh, Sabbhineni Meghna, Simran Bahadur and Sophie Molineux. (IANS)

    Tags
  • Mumbai Indians (MI)
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
  • Harmanpreet Kaur
  • Smriti Mandhana
  • Women’s Premier League (WPL)

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