WPL: Gujarat Giants notch up first win, hand Royal Challengers Bangalore third straight defeat

Mumbai, 8 Mar: Gujarat Giants handed Royal Challengers Bangalore their third consecutive defeat in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) here on Wednesday, winning a high-scoring contest by 11 runs to record their first victory in three matches.
After splendid half-centuries from Sophia Dunkley (65) and Harleen Deol (67) propelled Gujarat Giants to a strong 201 for 7 after batting first, their bowlers did a fair job, restricting RCB to 190 for 6 in their 20 overs.
RCB opener and New Zealand batter Sophie Devine largely played a lone hand in their chase, hitting a well-made 66 from 45 balls with eight fours and two sixes.
Towards the end, Heather Knight (30 not out off 11 balls) provided RCB a glimmer of hope, but the challenge of scoring 33 runs off the last two overs and 24 off the final over proved too much for the Bangalore side.
RCB’s star batter and captain Smriti Mandhana flopped once again, falling for 18 while Ellyse Perry (32) also could not score big despite getting a start and forming a vital partnership of 43 runs with Devine for the second wicket.
After conceding more than 200 runs for second time in three matches so far in the WPL, RCB looked set to challenge the target set by Gujarat Giants when Devine took the aggressive route and Mandhana played the second fiddle in the powerplay.
The right-handed New Zealand batter hit Kim Garth for a couple of fours in the third over and got three boundaries against Annabel Sutherland in the fifth.
The opening partnership lasted for 5.1 overs with Mandhana and Devine adding 54 runs, when the first breakthrough was provided by Ashleigh Gardner, who had the RCB captain caught at mid-on by Mansi Joshi.
In the 10th over, Gujarat captain Sneh Rana took a hard blow to her hands off a powerful return stroke from Perry. Rana did complete the over after initial treatment but left the field soon after.
Perry and Devine kept the ship steady but lack of boundaries resulted in pressure gradually increasing on them. The right-handed Perry cracked two fours off Joshi in the 12th over, but hit one straight to short third man fielder having made 32 off 25 balls with five fours in total.
It was not until the first ball of the 14th over that RCB hit their first six, with Devine clearing the ropes against Tanuja Kanwar to break the shackles as RCB needed another 85 from the last six overs at an asking rate of 14.
With 77 needed off the last five overs, Gardner dealt another blow to RCB, cleaning up the hard-hitting Richa Ghosh for 10. (PTI)