Richa, Meghana, Asha shine bright as RCB score narrow two-run win over UPW

PTI, Feb 25, 2024, 8:10 AM IST

Credit: PTI

Bengaluru: A new entrant, a middle-order warrior and an uncapped leg spinner held fort to give the Royal Challengers Bangalore a winning start against a fighting UP Warriorz at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Saturday.

Sabbhineni Meghana’s 44-ball 53, Richa Ghosh’s 37-ball 62 and Sobhana Asha’s fifer (5-22) were the highlights in their two-run victory.

However, it was UPW who began on the front foot by making RCB’s fancied top-order of Sophie Devine, captain Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry look mediocre. But Meghana and Richa’s heroics for their team ended with the scoreboard reading 157/6 in 20 overs.

The duo’s fight seemed to have given enough impetus to the rest, especially the 32-year-old Asha as her timely scalps troubled UPW during their chase. Despite the hiccups during Alyssa Healy-led side’s chase, Grace Harris (38 runs) and Shweta Sehrawat (31) fought hard to turn the tables. But their effort fell a tad bit short in another close finish.

At the beginning of the much-awaited clash, opener Sophie, entrusted with giving RCB a good start, was the first to fall in the third over to spinner Grace. As in-coming batter Meghana took little time to get the scoreboard ticking, Tahila McGrath’s short ball had Smriti mistiming a pull shot that landed in the hands of Vrinda Dinesh in the short fine leg area before Ellyse departed after scoring eight runs. With the star-studded top-order back in the pavilion for 54 runs in 7.5 overs, the situation for the home side looked grim.

It was then that the first strategic time-out taken by UPW after the ninth over that gave RCB a much-needed breather to find composure. Meghana had made herself comfortable at the crease by then with Richa determined to follow suit.

Whatever that coach Luke Williams instructed seemed to have done the trick as the duo stood strong from then on to form a 71-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Their quick running between the wickets complimented each other’s powerful shot-making, as Meghana’s deft touches and Richa’s flicks kept the crowd entertained.

Was that effort going to be enough? Turns out, on Saturday, it was.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 157/6 in 20 overs (Sabbhineni Meghana 53, Richa Ghosh 62; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2-24)

UP Warriorz: 155/7 in 20 overs (Grace Harris 38, Shweta Sehrawat 31; Sobhana Asha 5-22. PoM: Sobhana Asha.

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