WPL 2024: Mumbai Indians pummel Royal Challengers by 7 wickets


PTI, Mar 3, 2024, 8:46 AM IST

Credit: X / @wplt20

Bengaluru: Mumbai Indians batters and bowlers functioned in perfect sync to power their side to a seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Women’s Premier League match here on Saturday.

Yastika Bhatia (31, 15 balls, 4×4, 2×6) and Hayley Matthews (26, 21b, 3×4, 1×6) added 45 runs for the first wicket in just 3.5 overs to give a sound launching pad to MI.

The subsequent batters exploited the strong start to register a fine win, reaching the 132-run target with 29 balls to spare to take them to the top of the table with six points.

The MI bowlers were efficient while restricting RCB to a timid 131 for six.

Bhatia gave a fiery start to the Mumbai chase as she began with a boundary off pacer Renuka Singh in the very first ball and the introduction of Sophie Molineux prompted her to take aggression to next level.

The left-hander smashed the left-arm spinner over the deep mid-wicket for a six and then carted her past point for a four.

However, Bhatia was not all power as she showed a delectable touch too, like a flowing backfoot punch off Sophie Devine.

But Devine had the last laugh as Bhatia’s drive away from her body was snaffled by stumper Richa Ghosh diving to her left.

Matthews, who thumped a six off Georgia Wareham over mid-wicket, perished when she drilled an uppish drive straight to Smriti Mandhana off off-spinner Shreyanka Patil.

MI needed 63 runs from that point but stand-in captain Nat-Sciver Brunt (27, 25 balls) and Amelia Kerr (40 not out, 27 balls) hardly broke a sweat while adding 49 runs for the third wicket through a medley of pulls, reverse sweeps and late cuts.

From there, it was easy for MI to canter home.

Earlier, RCB would have been in deeper trouble had Elysse Perry (44 not out, 38 balls, 5×4) and Wareham (27, 20b, 3×4) not added 52 runs for the sixth wicket after MI decided to bowl first.

Mumbai were without their regular skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and premier pacer Shabnim Ismail, who have been nursing injuries, for the second match on the trot, but that did not affect their intensity.

The RCB top-order batters did not have the required amount of patience to weather the storm when the MI bowlers found a fine line early on.

Skipper Mandhana (9, 11 balls) grew impatient and looked to smash pacer Issy Wong out of the park. But the shot neither had power nor timing as Brunt completed a simple catch inside the circle.

It was a similar case with some other RCB top-order batters such as Ghosh and S Meghana who tried to break the shackles by force, not the best approach when the bowlers are on top.

Ghosh fell to pacer Pooja Vastrakar, smoking a drive straight to Sanjana Sajeevan at mid-off, and Meghana’s weak pull off Brunt ended in the hands of Keerthana Balakrishnan near backward square leg.

But Perry showed how to score runs here, selecting her balls to perfection to punish the bowlers. She pulled and cut Kerr for boundaries in successive balls when the leg-spinner erred in her length.

She found an able ally in Wareham, who complemented Perry with good rotation of strike and occasional hits to the fence.

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