Smriti Mandhana Ellyse Perry lead RCB’s comeback from twin losses to do a double over UPW

A special night at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium unfolded ahead of a lively crowd in Bengaluru as Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry put up a show to remember. Royal Challengers Bangalore returned to the winning ways after twin losses to end the Bengaluru leg of the WPL 2024 on a high note. They registered a double over the UP Warriorz with a 23-run win at the Chinnaswamy.

It was all set up brilliantly by captain Mandhana and veteran all-rounder Perry as the two went on a rampage to take the hosts to their highest-ever total in WPL history – 198. Mandhana scored back-to-back fifties and dons the orange cap now with well over 200 runs in the ongoing season of the tournament. She struck a terrific 80-run knock from 50 balls laced with 10 fours and three sixes as she toyed with the UP bowlers.

She was not the lone warrior from her side as Perry was very much in the party with her. The two shared a 95-run stand for the second wicket after they lost Sabbhineni Meghana in the last over of the powerplay with the team’s score at 51.

The two kept toying with the bowlers. Mandhana hit Chamari Athapaththu for three fours in the 15th over and then three more in the 16th over of Anjali Sarvani. Perry was meanwhile not quite too. She kept striking fours and sixes in the meantime and one of her maximums even went on to shatter the window glass of a display car at deep mid-wicket.

UP were in the chase, thanks to captain Alyssa Healy, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Khemnar. Kiran Navgire and Healy provided a solid start before the former fell to Sophie Devine when she miscued one towards mid-on. Chamari Athapaththu returned with eight to her name, while the power-hitter Grace Harris was outdone by Devine for five. Shweta Sehrawat could not contribute much with only a run coming off her bat. Healy kept chipping the runs but UP were hanging by a thin thread.

The visitors needed 90 from the final eight overs and had six wickets in hand with Deepti and Healy in the middle. But the skipper fell in the very next over to Sophie Molineux as she was stumped out. Deepti and Khemnar tried to their side stay in the hunt but a three-run 17th over from Wareham brought down the equation of 49 required from 18 balls. Deepti fell caught and bowled off Asha Sobhana and the rest was formality as UP folded out for 175/8.

This was their second loss to RCB in the same season. UP came into the contest on the back of two consecutive wins while RCB had two successive losses. RCB were at 4th, while UP was at 3rd in the points table but have now swapped their places. RCB have 6 points from five games, while UP have 4 from as many outings. Things now move to Delhi for the final leg of the tournament.

As the evening’s match progressed, Bengaluru’s stadium witnessed a significant partnership between Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry, which became the cornerstone for a competitive total. Mandhana’s casual elegance was complemented by Perry’s sheer power, as they combined to put UP Warriorz’s bowling attack under pressure. Not only did their partnership yield runs, but it also dazzled the devotees of the gentle game with breathless cricket.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s innings started on a brisk note but Meghana’s dismissal did introduce a moment of uncertainty. Yet, the UP bowlers had little relief as Mandhana and Perry took to carving a resounding response. Such was the ferocity of their batting that even the boundaries of the Chinnaswamy Stadium proved inadequate to contain their striking.

The UP Warriorz’s chase had moments that flickered with promise. Captain Healy, the embodiment of determination, alongside the skilled contributions of Deepti Sharma and Poonam Khemnar, tried to keep the dream of a chase alight. However, it was the clinical execution of RCB’s bowlers, led by the poised Sophie Devine and the crafty Sophie Molineux, which eventually capped the ambitions of the visitors.

The flurry of boundaries, the crack of the shattering glass, and the muted silence that followed the fall of UP wickets told the telltale signs of a contest that swayed intensely before settling in RCB’s favor. This victory for RCB doesn’t merely add points to the table, but reinstates the fierce competitive spirit present in the Women’s Premier League.

The clash, a compelling narrative of cricketing prowess and strategies, sets the tone for the remainder of the season. As the teams now shift focus to the concluding leg in Delhi, RCB’s resurgence places them in good stead, while UP Warriorz would reflect and re-strategize to reclaim their momentum.

In essence, the pulse of the competition beats stronger as the inaugural season traverses through twists and turns, building up to a crescendo that promises to captivate and enthrall the fans around the globe. The battle for supremacy continues as the stadium lights fade; the echoes of this special night remain, heralding the essence of cricket—where on any given day, heroes rise, and records tumble in a game of glorious uncertainties.

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