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regular-article-logo Saturday, 25 May 2024

RCB Women show how to do it, spinners help Smriti Mandhana's team lift maiden WPL crown

The Virat Kohlis reached the IPL final thrice, only to lose on all those occasions. But Smriti Mandhana and her team helped the franchise earn their first-ever title as they outplayed Delhi Capitals by eight wickets in the Women’s Premier League final at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 18.03.24, 08:38 AM
RCB players celebrate their maiden WPL crown in New Delhi on Sunday, after beating Delhi Capitals in the final by eight wickets.

RCB players celebrate their maiden WPL crown in New Delhi on Sunday, after beating Delhi Capitals in the final by eight wickets. PTI

The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Women have achieved what their men’s team haven’t been able to in the IPL till date.

The Virat Kohlis reached the IPL final thrice, only to lose on all those occasions. But Smriti Mandhana and her team helped the franchise earn their first-ever title as they outplayed Delhi Capitals by eight wickets in the final at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Sunday, emerging champions of the second edition of the Women’s Premier League in style.

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As Mandhana and her colleagues were celebrating their triumph, the skipper got a video call from Kohli, who congratulated her and the rest of the squad for their success. Kohli also made an Instagram post, praising Mandhana and her teammates as “Superwomen”.

The Capitals, electing to bat first, after winning the toss, were 64/0 in seven overs, but collapsed to 113 all out with nine balls remaining in their innings. Despite a solid start provided by Shafali Verma (44 off 27 balls) and captain Meg Lanning (23 off as many balls), the Capitals could only watch in disbelief as they lost all their 10 wickets for just 59 to be bowled out for a paltry total.

In the game that matters the most, Australian left-arm orthodox spinner Sophie Molineux (3/20 in 4 overs) and off-spinner Shreyanka Patil (4/12 in 3.3 overs) razed the Capitals batting line-up, with the 33-year-old leg-spinner Asha Sobhana (2/14 in 3 overs) also chipping in.

With a small target to chase down, the RCB batters remained calm right through and adopted a totally risk-free approach. Skipper Mandhana (31), her opening partner Sophie Devine (32) and Ellyse Perry (35 not out) ensured to get the necessary runs as RCB won the title with three balls to spare.

Keeper-batter Richa Ghosh also did her job with the bat, remaining unbeaten on 17.

Earlier, left-armer Molineux took only an over to change the game. In her second over, she removed Shafali first before cleaning up Jemimah Rodrigues and Alice Capsey off successive balls as the Capitals were 65/3 in eight overs.

“The feeling has not sunk in yet, maybe it will take time... Hard for me to come out with a lot of expression,” an elated Mandhana said at the post-match presentation.

“Only thing I want to say is I am proud of the bunch. We have been through ups and downs, but they stuck to it and the way we have gotten past the line was simply amazing. For RCB as a franchise to win, it is really, really special.”

RCB's Shreyanka did not only win the Purple Cap with 13 wickets in the tournament, she also picked up the best Emerging Player award. Her teammate Perry got the Orange Cap with 347 runs. Deepti Sharma of the UP Warriorz was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of WPL 2024.

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