RCB win maiden WPL title with an all-round display | Cricket News

What the men haven’t been able to do, the women have done! And done with great poise.
Finalists in the 2009, 2011 and 2016 Indian Premier League, the Royal Challengers Bangalore men couldn’t clinch the ultimate prize. The RCB women did it in their first Women’s Premier League (WPL) final itself. As Richa Ghosh smashed a length ball from Arundhati Reddy over extra cover for a four, RCB not only won its maiden WPL title but also their first-ever silverware in any competition.
As the captain of the side, Smriti Mandhana accomplished what her male counterparts like Anil Kumble (2009 IPL captain), Daniel Vettori (2011 IPL captain) and Virat Kohli (2016 IPL captain) couldn’t do – and that’s to lift the winners’ trophy.
It was a convincing and professional effort from the girls in red and black, emerging victorious by eight wickets against Delhi Capitals – the team dubbed to be the favourites before the final.
The chase of a modest 114 went smooth for RCB as their top 3, Smriti Mandhana (31 off 39b; 3×4), Sophie Devine (32 off 27b; 5×4, 1×6) and Ellyse Perry (35 off 37b; 4×4) completed the formalities with comfort.
The DC innings could easily be divided into two halves – the Powerplay overs and the overs post that. While Shafali Verma (44 off 27b; 2×4, 3×6) was at her destructive best in the first six, RCB’s spinners hogged all the limelight later.
RCB’s four-pronged spin attack comprising Shreyanka Patil (4/12), Sophie Molineux (3/20), Asha Sobhana (2/14) and Georgia Wareham (0/16) spun a web around the Delhi batters and they crumbled like a pack of cards. It was a horror show on the part of DC batters as the 28,000-strong crowd at the Arun Jaitley Stadium were left disappointed.
The start, however, was to the liking of the crowd as Shafali and Meg Lanning (23 off 23b; 3×4) started hitting fours and sixes from the get-go.
Shafali landed the first blow in the Powerplay with a massive six over long on off Molineux’s left-arm spin. The ball was in the arc of Shafali’s bat swing, and it went out of the park as a result.
The duo of Shafali and Lanning were particularly severe on the medium-pace of Renuka Singh. Renuka didn’t look in rhythm and was mostly floating it up to the two batters. In the fourth over, Shafali planted her front foot and hit it over Renuka’s head for another maximum. Lanning too joined in on the fun and smashed the medium-pacer for back-to-back boundaries. The over produced 19 runs for DC, as Renuka gave away 28 runs in her two-over spell in the Powerplay.
Shafali kept the charge on and gave Perry the same treatment, clobbering another one down the ground for a 75m six. It wasn’t just brute force, Shafali also brought some deft touch to her game when she picked the gap between backward point and short third with a well-timed shot.
At the end of the Powerplay, DC were motoring along at 61/0. However, Molineux turned the match on its head with three big wickets in the 8th over. First she had Shafali holing out to deep midwicket where Wareham held onto a well-judged catch. A ball later, Jemimah Rodrigues played a horrible swipe and the ball crashed into the middle stump. If Jemimah’s shot was bad, the next batter, Alice Capsey, played a terrible one. She walked across the stumps, and tried to scoop one. The ball went past the bat and hit the stumps.
Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 113 in 18.3 overs (Shefali Verma 44, Meg Lanning 23, Shreyanka Patil 4/12) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 115/2 in 19.3 overs (Smriti Mandhana 31, Sophie Devine 32, Ellyse Perry 35*)

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