RCB’s Triple Threat Secures WPL Triumph

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After years of hoping with ‘Ee Sala Cup Namde’, RCB’s dream turned reality as they clinched their inaugural WPL title, becoming only the second champions in the tournament’s history…reports Asian Lite News

Spinners Shreyanka Patil, Sophie Molineux, and Asha Sobhana took nine wickets between themselves while Ellyse Perry showed calmness with an unbeaten 35 to help Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) win the Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 title with an eight-wicket win over Delhi Capitals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Sunday.

The long-used phrase of ‘Ee Sala Cup Namde’, which translates to ‘this year the cup is ours’, and the ridicule around it came to an end as a far-fetched dream finally became a reality for RCB in winning their first-ever WPL title and become just the second winners in the history of the competition.

Shreyanka was the hero with the ball, taking 4-12 and becoming the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, while Sophie’s triple strike and Asha’s two scalps ensured DC were bowled out for 113 in 18.3 overs, after being 64/0 in seven overs. In the chase, Ellyse, who is the leading run-getter in the competition, stayed till the end to complete the chase in 19.3 overs.

Chasing just 114, Smriti Mandhana and Sophie Devine took their time to make 25 runs in the Power-play, including hitting three boundaries collectively off Marizanne Kapp.

RCB got the momentum they waited for in the seventh over when Sophie swept twice off Radha Yadav and then danced down the pitch to hit the left-arm spinner for a six in the 18-run over. But her knock ended on 32 in the ninth over when she played all around a nip-backer from Shikha Pandey to be trapped lbw.

Though the runs dried up for RCB, Smriti and Ellyse kept the chase in control by going slow and looking at a chance to up the ante. They got the opportunity when Ellyse pulled Arundhati Reddy for a boundary, while Smriti timed a drive exquisitely past the backward point for another four in the 13th over.

Ellyse then lofted Jess Jonassen over mid-off for four but lost Smriti to Minnu Mani, who was beaten in flight while going for the loft and holed out to mid-on. Ellyse and Richa Ghosh rotated strike briefly before the latter cut Minnu through point for four.

Ellyse pulled Jess through mid-wicket for four and then swept Alice Capsey past fine leg for another boundary to take RCB closer to victory. Richa sealed the deal for RCB when she lofted Arundhati over mid-off for four, sparking jubilant celebrations in the camp and in the entire Bengaluru city on winning the WPL 2024 trophy.

Earlier, Delhi Capitals had a blazing start by making 61 runs in the Power-play, also the joint-highest score in the first six overs of this season, and looked set to make a big total. But once the spinners came in, DC crumbled like nine pins, falling from 64/0 in seven overs to losing their all-ten wickets in just 49 runs.

Their shot selection, especially in facing straighter deliveries, and clumsy running between the wickets, left a lot to be desired as Shreyanka took 4-12 to be the leading wicket-taker in the competition, followed by Sophie taking 3-20 and Asha Sobhana picking 2-14 in what was another impressive spin bowling show for RCB.

Electing to bat first, Delhi overcame a mix-up between Meg Lanning and Shafali Verma in the opening over to have a blistering start. Shafali was the main aggressor -– slamming a brace of sixes over the bowler’s head, before Meg cleared mid-off and sliced Renuka Singh Thakur for back-to-back boundaries.

Shafali continued to deal in boundaries -– sending one down the ground for six, slicing for four more and carved a drive-over cover for another boundary. Meg then whipped a four over backward square leg for four as DC signed off from power-play with 61/0.

Post Power-play, RCB made a powerful comeback to leave DC’s innings in tatters, thanks to left-arm spinner Sophie in the eighth over. In a bid to clear a longer boundary, Shafali slog-swept straight to deep mid-wicket off her.

Sophie had Jemimah Rodrigues castled on sweep for a two-ball duck, before Alice was cleaned up while shaping up for a lap shot, falling for a golden duck as the left-arm spinner took three wickets in four balls. More trouble followed DC as an edgy Meg was trapped lbw by Shreyanka after playing all around an off-break delivery in the 11th over.

Marizanne miscued her slog-sweep against Asha and long-on caught the thick top edge. Jess Jonassen was next to fall, miscuing her slog off the leg-spinner, and was safely caught by Smriti. Minnu missed a paddle sweep off Shreyanka and was trapped plumb lbw.

Radha hit back-to-back boundaries to take DC past 100, but her run-out by a direct hit from Sophie in the 17th over ended the side’s prospect of getting a respectable total. Shreyanka knocked over Arundhati and had Taniyaa Bhatia caught behind by Richa on a faint edge to end DC’s innings in 18.3 overs, as the hosts ended up being runners-up in the WPL for a second straight time, this time at their home turf.

Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 113 all out in 18.3 overs (Shafali Verma 44, Meg Lanning 23; Shreyanka Patil 4-12, Sophie Molineux 3-20) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 115/2 in 19.3 overs (Ellyse Perry 35 not out, Shikha Pandey 1-11) by eight wickets.

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