RCB miss out on fairytale ending to finish WPL 2023 with a loss against MI
It wasn’t a fairytale ending for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in WPL 2023 as the Smriti Mandhana-led side lost to the Mumbai Indians by 4 wickets at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai.
Put into bat by MI skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, RCB were dented early with the in-form Sophie Devine (0) sent back by a run-out just three balls into the match. Mandhana and Ellyse Perry joined forces to put the team back on track, but once the RCB captain departed after a 25-ball 24, three batters in Heather Knight (12), Kanika Ahuja (12) and Richa Ghosh (29) all got starts but failed to convert them into big knocks.
Ghosh, in particular, looked at her aggressive best, smacking three fours and two sixes to finish her knock with a strike rate of 223.08. However, she didn’t receive much support from any other batters in the middle order, and RCB finished with a sub-par 125/9 from their 20 overs.
RCB seemed to start off on a very positive note with Megan Schutt trapping opener Hayley Matthews in front on the very first ball, only for the decision to be overturned by a DRS review.
The second over also produced a lot of action, with Devine inducing an edge off Matthews’ bat but the batter was saved by a no-ball. MI didn’t allow RCB any other opportunities until the end of the powerplay, with Shreyanka Patil sending Yastika Bhatia (30) back to the hut on the last ball of the field restrictions.
The RCB bowlers did well to pick three more wickets inside the first 10 overs, getting the scalps of Matthews (24), Nat-Sciver Brunt (13) and Harmanpreet Kaur (2), giving Mandhana’s side a glimmer of hope to push for a win.
However, Amelia Kerr (31*) and Pooja Vastrakar (19) put on a 47-run stand that batted RCB out of the game, and eventually, a double-wicket over from Ahuja (2/5) was the only late positive for the Challengers as MI cantered home with 21 balls to spare.