WPL 2024: Perry’s 66, collective bowling effort help RCB edge MI by 5 runs, set up title clash with DC

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Ellyse Perry was the lone ranger with the bat through her magnificent 66, while the bowlers, led by Shreyanka Patil’s 2-18, propelled the Royal Challengers Bangalore to pull off a stunning five-run win over defending champions Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator match of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Friday.

After Ellyse’s knock, laced with eight fours and a six, took RCB to 135/6 in 20 overs, she played a key role in stemming the run-flow with the ball and taking out Yastika Bhatia. Shreyanka was economical in her spell and took out captain Harmanpreet Kaur in the 18th over, which tilted the game in RCB’s favour in front of 27,100 fans.

This win means RCB will now meet Delhi Capitals in the title clash on Sunday to determine the new WPL champions.

Chasing 136, Yastika and Hayley Matthews hit four boundaries between themselves, before the latter slog-swept straight to deep mid-wicket off Shreyanka. RCB kept MI quiet for the rest of the Power-play, though Yastika struck two well-timed off-side boundaries and later found support from Nat Sciver-Brunt, who paddle-swept and pulled for a brace of fours.

The crowd erupted when Ellyse got one to come in and uproot Yastika’s leg stump. Harmanpreet could have been out for a diamond duck if not for a small part of her bat being beyond the line. Sciver-Brunt pulled and slog-swept Georgia Wareham for two fours before the leg-spinner bounced back by castling the right-handed batter.

Harmanpreet and Amelia Kerr had to be content with rotating the strike, with the skipper getting boundaries in between to keep MI in the hunt. She got more boundaries by scooping over the keeper’s head and lofting in the gap between mid-wicket and mid-on for a brace of fours.

Amelia joined the boundary-hitting act by swivelling and pulling in the mid-wicket area to take two fours off Georgia. Harmanpreet had a reprieve at the start of the 18th over when Richa Ghosh missed a stumping off Shreyanka, but the off-spinner had the last laugh by having the batter hole out to long-on to close the over.

With 16 runs needed off the last 12 balls, the pressure was on MI, under which it wilted. Sajana Sajeevan was stumped off Sophie Molineux, while Pooja Vastrakar got out in the same fashion against Asha Sobhana in the last over, as RCB gave away only 14 runs in the last three overs to enter the WPL final for the first time.

Earlier, Ellyse stood tall amidst the ruins for RCB with the bat on a pitch where the ball kept a bit low. Her efforts helped RCB, who were reduced to 23/3 in 3.4 overs, reach a total which gave them something to defend in a high-stakes encounter, including 51 runs coming off the last five overs.

Electing to bat first, Smriti Mandhana and Sophie Devine hit four boundaries between themselves in 1.5 overs. Sophie had luck twice on her side – bails not being disturbed on the inside edge and surviving a direct hit.

But she ran out of luck when Hayley beat the batter on the outside edge while trying to defend and rattled the off-stump. One brought two for MI as Smriti miscued a loft away from the body and holed out to deep cover. Disha Kasat tried to end the run-drought but hit straight to cover point and fell for a seven-ball duck. Richa Ghosh and Ellyse showed signs of stabilising RCB’s innings with four well-timed boundaries before the first time-out, with the former’s loft against Saika Ishaque going over long-off for six being the standout.

But after the time-out, Pooja Vastrakar built pressure with her tight lines and that resulted in Richa trying to loft Hayley down the ground, but miscuing to long-on. Ellyse broke the 26-ball boundary drought by walking forward & going across to heave over deep mid-wicket for six. She and Molineux later took a four each in their 35-run stand for the fifth wicket, before the latter was castled by Nat. Ellyse took back-to-back boundaries off Shabnim -– steering in the gap between short third man and backward point, followed by drilling down the ground -– before ending the over with a single to get her fifty in 44 balls.

Ellyse continued to lead RCB’s charge by cutting and sweeping Amelia Kerr for a brace of boundaries, before slashing Saika over extra cover for a boundary. But on the very next ball, she holed out to deep mid-wicket. Georgia finished off the innings with a powerful six over deep mid-wicket to take RCB past 130, which was enough to knock out the defending champions.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 135/6 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 66; Hayley Matthews 2-18, Nat Sciver-Brunt 2-18) beat Mumbai Indians 130/6 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 33, Amelia Kerr 27 not out; Shreyanka Patil 2-16, Asha Sobhana 1-13) by five runs



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