WPL 2024: Asha’s five-wicket haul helps RCB defeat UP Warriorz in a thriller

Asked to bat first, Richa Ghosh and Sabbhineni Meghana struck half-centuries to lift RCB to 157 for six.

Published : Feb 24, 2024 23:14 IST , BENGALURU - 3 MINS READ

RCB bowler Asha Sobhana celebrates the wicket of UP Warriorz batter Grace Harris.
RCB bowler Asha Sobhana celebrates the wicket of UP Warriorz batter Grace Harris. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR/The Hindu

RCB bowler Asha Sobhana celebrates the wicket of UP Warriorz batter Grace Harris. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR/The Hindu

Richa Ghosh (62, 37b, 12x4) entertained the packed M. Chinnaswamy crowd with her strokeplay but it was Asha Sobhana’s (five for 22) magical spell that made sure Royal Challengers Bangalore beat UP Warriorz by two runs in the Women’s Premier League 2024 clash in Bengaluru on Saturday.

While defending 158, Sophie Molineux gave RCB an early breakthrough, outfoxing Warriorz skipper Alyssa Healy, who was deceived by the turn while defending for a straight ball in the second over.

Debutant Vrinda Dinesh’s cautious play and a lucky reprieve for Tahlia McGrath, courtesy Shreyanka Patil at cover-point, saw Warriorz finishing the PowerPlay at 36 for one.

Asha broke Warriorz’ momentum, removing Vrinda and McGrath in the space of three deliveries. Vrindra got stumped while stepping out before McGrath went for a sweep and got bowled through her legs.

However, Grace Harris and Shweta Sehrawat kept Warriorz in the hunt with a 77-run stand for the fourth wicket, taking the Uttar Pradesh team to 126 in 16 overs.

With just 32 needed off the last four overs, RCB skipper Smriti Mandhana brought Asha in search of a wicket, and the latter delivered, dismissing Shweta, Harris and Kiran Navgire in one over to pull things back and finish with a five-wicket haul.

With 30 runs needed off 18 deliveries, Poonam Khemnar and Deepti Sharma scored 14 off Shreyanka to close the gap. Georgia Wareham removed Poonam in the 19th over, leaving Molineux with 11 runs to defend in the final over.

Deepti hit a four off the penultimate delivery, but she was unable to replicate S. Sajana’s feat of hitting a six with five needed off the final delivery, as RCB began its season with a thrilling victory.

Earlier, Richa’s cracking fifty alongside a much-needed contribution from S. Meghana (53, 44b, 7x4, 1x6) took Royal Challengers to 157 for six after being put in.

Vrinda, Poonam and Saima Thakor made debuts for Warriorz, while RCB handed caps to Meghana, Molineux and Wareham.

Harris and McGrath bowled in tandem, jolting RCB early. Harris found Sophie Devine plumb in front while McGrath got rid of Mandhana, who started positively. An elegant six over long-off and a pull at short fine-leg showed a glimpse of her class, but a reckless pull cut short her innings in the sixth over as RCB managed only 40 in the PowerPlay.

Ellyse Perry was sent down at No. 4 to provide cushion down the order. She found Saima at cover in the eighth over as RCB’s score read 64 at the halfway mark.

Meghana navigated her way and changed gears in combination with Richa. A single brought her fifty in the 14th over, while Richa hit three fours to take RCB past 100.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad broke the 71-run stand, getting Meghana stumped. Wareham also fell in the same over for a duck.

Richa reached the half-century mark with a four off McGrath before hitting her further for two consecutive boundaries. Deepti ended her fighting knock, but Shreyanka and Molineux propelled the home team past 150, which turned out to be a par total at this venue.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 157/6 in 20 overs (Sabbhineni Meghana 53, Richa Ghosh 62; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/24) beat UP Warriorz 155/7 in 20 overs (Grace Harris 38, Shweta Sehrawat 31; Asha Sobhana 5/22) by two runs.
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