Sophie Devine stirred a storm and the result of it was a mind-boggling innings that saw her blazing away to a 36-ball 99, a stunning assault that powered Royal Challengers Bangalore to a vital eight-wicket win over Gujarat Giants, a victory that has kept their hopes of qualifying for the WPL 2023 Eliminator alive.
RCB’s win meant Delhi Capitals have become the second team after Mumbai Indians to qualify for the playoff. There’s now a three-way battle between RCB, GG and UP Warriorz to seal a top-three spot.
Devine was in the zone as she clattered nine fours and eight sixes during her entertaining innings. She came frustratingly close to becoming the first ever centurion in WPL history and also equalling her own record for the fastest century in women’s T20 but it wasn’t meant to be.
Watch: Devine Blasts 24 Runs in an Over of Ashleigh Gardner
Chasing 189, RCB sprinted to the target in just 15.3 overs thanks to Devine’s brutal onslaught that also pushed her to the top spot in the list of highest run-getters of the ongoing season, replacing Meg Lanning.
Together with Mandhana, Devine led an excellent start to the chase with the pair adding 125 runs in just 9.2 overs. Mandhana was solid, hitting 37 off 31 and had the best seat in the house witnessing a blockbuster knock that all but sealed GG’s fate.
This was after Laura Wolvaardt top-scored with a scintillating 42-ball 68 before a 22-run final over powered GG to a challenging 188/4. Ashleigh Gardner (41 off 26 balls) also played a brisk knock before Harleen Deol (12 not out) and Dayalan Hemalatha (16 not out) ended GG’s innings by smashing a clueless Megan Schutt for two sixes and two fours.
Batting first after Sneh Rana won the toss, both Sophia Dunkley and Laura Wolvaardt showed positive intent at the start, hitting two boundaries each in the first two overs.
However, a ball after pulling Devine over midwicket for a four, Dunkley’s leg stump was knocked over after the batter had shuffled across too much to play the scoop shot over fine leg to a good length delivery.
Unperturbed by the setback, Wolvaardt looked to control the innings and found the fence two more times to take GG to 40 for one in five overs.
Introduced into the attack, Ellyse Perry started on a fine note and gave away just a single off her first five balls, before she conceded a boundary off a half-volley at the Brabourne Stadium. Nevertheless, it was a good over by Perry.
Leg-spinner Asha Shobana too bowled a tidy first over, conceding, like Perry, only five runs.
WPL 2023: RCB vs GG Highlights
Having got her eye in after spending some time in the middle, Sabbhineni Meghana broke the shackles with a boundary off Preeti Bose’s first delivery off the eighth over. However, Bose came back well and gave away four runs in her next five balls.
Bose broke the 63-run partnership between Meghana and Wolvaardt when the bowler had the Indian batter stumped by Richa Ghosh in what looked like a lazy dismissal.
Gardner walked in and she meant business straightaway, hitting Asha for a six over long-on even as Wolvaardt, at the other end, continued to accumulate runs and reached her half-century off 35 balls, reaching the mark with a six over midwicket against Perry.
Wolvaardt then launched into Megan Schutt, smashing her for a six and a four, but Shreyanka Patil brought an end to her innings when the South African hit a low full toss straight to Bose at short midwicket. Gardner then took it upon herself to finish GG’s innings on a high note, hitting a flurry of fours before getting out lbw to Patil.
The victory saw RCB climb up to the fourth spot on the points table, swapping places with GG who are now languishing at the bottom of the pile.
With PTI Inputs
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