Bangalore batted first after winning the toss, but managed only 138 as Sophie Ecclestone picked up 4/13 and Deepti Sharma 3/26. In the chase, UP Warriorz raced home in 13 overs as skipper Alyssa Healy hammered 96 not out in only 47 balls. Healy and Devika Vaidya (36* off 31) featured in an unbroken 139-run stand.
Batting first, RCB were seeking some inspiration from struggling captain Smriti Mandhana. But she failed again, caught for 4 while trying to take on Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Ellyse Perry top-scored with 52 off 39 balls, while Sophie Devine chipped in with 36 off 24. The two added 44 for the second wicket, but once the partnership was broken, it was all UP.
Devine was bowled by Ecclestone, while Kanika Ahuja (8) fell to Sharma. There was further trouble for Bangalore as Heather Knight (2) and Richa Ghosh (1) lost their wickets to run outs. Ecclestone picked up the last two wickets to bring an end to RCB’s poor batting effort.
Chasing 139, Healy struck 18 fours and a six to reduce the result to a formality. She kept finding the boundaries at her will and fell just short of three figures. With her knock, Healy went past Tahlia McGrath (90 not out) to smash the highest individual score in WPL 2023. At the other end, Vaidya hit five fours in her unbeaten 31.
Speaking after being named Player of the Match, Healy said she was really pleased with their bowlers tonight who kept RCB under 200. The UPW skipper commented, “Full credit to the spinners as they held their nerve and took wickets at crucial times. It was spin to win tonight. It was a good batting wicket and the spinners did a fine job.”
On Vaidya opening ahead of Shweta Sehrawat, Healy explained, “Shweta is only a baby and coming into such a competition is difficult. We watched Vaidya in the recent series (against India) and wondered what she was doing at number 7, she played a fine knock and took the pressure off me.
“We just set the platform early and by the timeout we needed run a ball, we didn't want to drag it too long,” she added.
Reflecting on yet another loss, RCB captain Mandhana lamented that they start well, but then lose a cluster of wickets. She elaborated, “I take the blame as well. Need to get runs on the board for the bowlers to defend. Overs 7-15 we spoke about getting 7-8 per over. Didn't work out today. We're trying to get a balanced team. Let's see how it goes.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent