GG, RCB search for first win

WPL 2023

GG, RCB search for first win

by Staff • Published on Tue, Mar 7, 2023

It’s still early days in the maiden season of the Women’s Premier League but teams already are falling behind the eight-ball. Such is the nature of this five-team event – fixtures come thick and fast, and so does the need to accumulate points quickly.

In that endeavour, Gujarat Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore have made a stuttering start. Gujarat, unfortunately, found two of the most daunting ways to lose a T20 game – a thorough humiliation in the tournament opener and a late heist that nicked two points from their grasp. But as the gruelling schedule dictates, there’s seldom time for a lengthy introspection. The team remains hamstrung by uncertainty over the availability of regular captain Beth Mooney, but they will take the spirited performance in their second game as a form of respite and optimism moving forward.

RCB, meanwhile, grapple with balance issues. In their first game, their bowling let them down, albeit on a belter of a track in Brabourne, where Delhi Capitals amassed 223/2. In the second, they chose to bat first and didn’t do enough justice to the decision.

Wednesday presents an opportunity to stem the rot and get off the mark or risk being in a free fall, which to say the least doesn’t bode well in a swiftly-moving tournament such as this.

When: Gujarat Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, March 8, Tuesday, 07.30 PM IST

Where: Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai

What to expect: Teams to win toss and opt to chase. The afternoon game produced a first-innings 200-plus total and a win but there was stark contrast in the evening fixture. RCB floundered their way to 155 which MI surmounted in just the 15th over.

Team News:

Gujarat Giants

Though Ashleigh Gardner went for a lot of runs in Gujarat’s defeat to UP Warriorz, she could be useful with a couple of PowerPlay overs against Smriti Mandhana. MI used a similar trick in the book by bringing back Hayley Matthews despite an expensive first over to bowl to the left-handed RCB opener and it brought instant gratification. Gardner’s off-spin could be trialled against the opposition captain too. If Mooney is still injured, Gujarat could opt to field the same XI that nearly downed UP Warriorz.

Probable XI: Sabbhineni Meghana, Sophia Dunkley, Sushma Verma (wk), Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana (c), Kim Garth, Mansi Joshi, Tanuja Kanwar

Royal Challengers Bangalore

RCB have three of their four foreign slots filled in the top-six with Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry and Heather Knight, with Dane van Niekerk in the reserves, who will also take up a top-order spot if picked. It leaves RCB with a bowling attack with a few Indian domestic players expected to step up in quick time. Good news for RCB is they have plenty of options, so if two defeats is too much in a short tournament like this one, they could consider changes.

Probable XI: Smriti Mandhana (c), Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Disha Kasat, Richa Ghosh(w), Heather Knight, Kanika Ahuja, Megan Schutt, Shreyanka Patil, Preeti Bose/Sahana Pawar, Renuka Thakur Singh/Komal Zanzad

What They Said:

“We could have learnt to put down a better score. We have to accept this defeat and come back better. Two-three batters got into the 20s but could not make it count including myself. We do have a good bowling side, we have 6-7 bowling options and we can’t say much to the bowlers when the batters are not putting up the runs.” – Smriti Mandhana, RCB captain.

“Disappointed with the loss, but proud of the girls, especially after last night’s loss [to MI]… I enjoyed my leadership, I enjoy being the leader. The girls fought really hard [vs UP Warriorz].” – Sneh Rana, GG’s stand-in skipper.

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