There’s no stopping Mumbai Indians.
After a convincing win against Gujarat Giants in the Women’s Premier League opener a couple of days ago, the side kept the momentum going as it rode on Hayley Matthews’ all-round effort - a three-wicket haul, followed by an unbeaten 77 off 38 deliveries - to drub Royal Challengers Bangalore by nine wickets.
At the Brabourne Stadium on Monday, RCB won the toss and opted to bat, but the decision backfired as Matthews claimed three wickets (3 for 28) and spinner Saika Ishaque grabbed a couple of wickets (2 for 26) to restrict it to 155.
Coming off a 60-run defeat against Delhi Capitals in its last game, RCB started off strongly with Smriti Mandhana and Sophie Devine forging an opening stand of 39. Mandhana hammered Isabelle Wong for three fours in the fourth over, before Ishaque struck. Looking to clear the mid-wicket boundary, Devine was caught by Amanjot Kaur near the rope, and two balls later, Disha Kasat was cleaned up by Ishaque.
And in the next over, the sixth of the game, Matthews removed Mandhana and Heather Knight off successive deliveries to turn things Mumbai’s way. As RCB lost wickets at regular intervals and was reeling at 71-5, the lower-order batters - Richa Ghosh (28 off 26), Kanika Ahuja (22 off 13) and debutant Shreyanka Patil (23 off 15) - stepped up to guide the team to a competitive total.
In the eighth over, Ghosh survived a caught behind appeal off Nat Sciver-Brunt off a short ball, but was involved in the run-out of Ellyse Perry in the next over. With Kanika and Patil’s cameos, RCB managed to reach the 150-run mark, though it was at least 20-25 runs short.
However, chasing a tricky total, Mumbai Indians had a walk in the park as none of the RCB bowlers could make a mark. Making the most of a batting surface, Matthews first forged a 45-run opening stand with Yastika Bhatia and after the latter was trapped leg before by Preeti Bose, the West Indies ace stood firm and built a 114-run partnership with Nat-Sciver Brunt for the second wicket.
While Matthews’ brought up her 50 in just 26 balls, Brunt held fort at the other end, with a steady 55 off 29. While some shoddy fielding was on display by RCB, Matthews hit boundaries at will and made sure that she did not allow the opponent to bounce back. As the two guided the team home with 34 balls to spare, MI fans chanted ‘Mumbai, Mumbai’ to celebrate the team’s second win on the trot.
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