WPL 2024: Richa, Meghana, Asha shine bright as RCB score narrow two-run win over UP Warriorz | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Royal Challengers Bangalore marked their first home Women’s Premier League (WPL) match with a hard-fought two-run victory over UP Warriorz in Bengaluru on Saturday, thanks to authoritative fifties by Richa Ghosh and S Meghana, well-supported by crafty leg-spinner Sobhana Asha.
Richa (62, 37b, 12×4) and Meghana (53, 44b, 7×4, 1×6) propelled Royal Challengers to a competitive total of 157 for six on a slightly challenging pitch, showcasing a remarkable partnership of 71 runs for the fourth wicket in 50 balls.
As it happened| Scorecard
Grace Harris (38, 23b, 4×4, 2×6) and Shweta Sehrawat (31, 25b, 2×4, 1×6) contributed with a partnership of 77 runs in 44 balls for the fourth wicket, but UP Warriorz could not withstand the five-wicket haul by leg-spinner Asha Shobhana (5/22), ultimately finishing at 155 for seven.
The Warriorz were cruising towards victory at 116 for three in the 15th over, but Shobhana’s impactful three-wicket burst in the 17th over completely altered the dynamics of the game.
During that crucial over, she dismissed Harris, Sehrawat, and Kiran Navgire, shattering UP’s aspirations by a narrow margin.
The Warriorz chase got off to a rather sedate start after losing skipper Alyssa Healy in the second over itself.
Left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux produced a ripper to get rid of Healy. The ball pitched around middle and off line, before straightening to clip the bails off past the tentative prod of the UP opener.
Vrinda Dinesh and Tahlia McGrath added 38 runs for the second wicket but they also consumed 7.4 overs for it, struggling to pull out big shots on a slow deck.
But Shobhana struck heavy blows in the 9th over, dismissing both Vrinda and McGrath.
Vrinda, who laboured to a 28-ball 18, tried to step down and hoick Shobhana but missed the ball as stumper Richa did the rest.
Shobhana ousted McGrath two balls later when the Aussie batter’s attempt to slog sweep saw the ball rearranging her stumps.
Earlier, RCB batters hobbled to a total that proved just enough on the night.
The RCB were tottering at 54 for three in 7.5 overs after being asked to bat first.
Sensing the situation, Meghana and Richa took their time to settle into their partnership, but once they got their eyes in, the RCB pair did not look back.
Meghana, who was dropped on 20 and 22, made full use of those let-offs to play some stunning shots around the ground.
Her thumping loft over extra cover for a six off left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad was good enough to watch in loop.
She reached her fifty in 40 balls, and Richa, who hammered pacer Saima Thakor for 16 runs in the 14th over, reached her own mark soon off 31 balls with a four off Tahlia McGrath.
The partnership was broken when Gayakwad had Meghana stumped by Alyssa Healy.
But before that steady stand, RCB skipper Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry struggled to come to terms with the sluggishness of the track, perishing in their attempt to force the pace.
(With inputs from PTI)

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