RCB Spinners’ and Ellyse Perry Heroics Propel Team to WPL 2024 Final: A Thrilling Recap

The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) all-rounder Ellyse Perry brilliance and spinners, led by Asha Sobhana’s heroics in the final over, secured a thrilling victory over Mumbai Indians, paving their way to the WPL 2024 final against Delhi Capitals.

Sobhana secured RCB’s final position against Delhi Capitals by defending 12 runs in the last over.

RCB Spinners' and Ellyse Perry Heroics Propel Team to WPL 2024 Final: A Thrilling Recap

Mumbai Indians 130 for 6 (Harmanpreet 33, Patil 2-16) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 135 for 6 (Perry 66, Matthews 2-18, Sciver-Brunt 2-18) by five runs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated the Mumbai Indians, the reigning champions, by five runs in Friday’s eliminator at the Arun Jaitley Stadium to advance to the WPL final for the first time. Following Ellyse Perry‘s outstanding 66, which helped RCB reach 135 for 6, Mumbai was eliminated by a cool, collected bowling performance, particularly in the latter stages.

With seven wickets remaining and a requirement of 20 runs in three overs, Mumbai looked to have the low-scoring, momentum-shifting match. But at a critical juncture, Mumbai was damaged by RCB’s spin combination of Asha Sobhana, Sophie Molineux, and Shreyanka Patil, who shut down the runs and claimed three wickets.

The uncapped Asha then maintained her composure and bowled a final over without giving up a run to send RCB into the championship match against Delhi Capitals when the score came down to 12 runs off six balls.

Mumbai Started the Game on High

Mumbai began with a 14-run opening over from Shabnim Ismail, but they bounced back with a powerplay that saw them secure three RCB wickets. When Sophie Devine got an inside edge onto the stumps in the first over, there was a little drama, but the bails stood their ground.

Hayley Matthews bowled the following over, and Smriti Mandhana got things started by lofting one over mid-off for her second boundary. However, Matthews quickly returned to the game, dismissing Devine with a length ball that veered away from the right-hand hitter after she misplayed the line.

RCB Spinners’ and Ellyse Perry Heroics Propel Team to WPL 2024 Final: A Thrilling Recap

Nat Sciver-Brunt was then brought in by Harmanpreet Kaur, and it was successful. Mandhana misplayed a length delivery thrown outside off to deep cover, and she hit with her second ball. 

Disha Kasat came in at number four, and Harmanpreet decided not to bat Matthews anymore, instead calling on left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque. After Kasat attempted to produce a lofted stroke after six dot balls, Ishaque grasped the assignment and dismissed him, catching him at cover point. RCB finished the powerplay at 34 for 3, having slid from 20 for no loss.

Perry Show Continues

After struggling through her 19-ball 14, Richa Ghosh was removed by Matthews in the 10th over, leaving the RCB at 49 for 4. Perry, though, seemed unperturbed by the wickets falling. She played a calculated knock, picked up lengths early, and surged when needed. Even though there weren’t many loose deliveries from the Mumbai bowlers, the orange-cap holder managed to score.

She steadily worked through 21 deliveries to reach 17, and then, when Vastrakar mishandled, she broke free, hitting her over deep midwicket for six. Perry increased the pace with Wareham (18* off 10) and played as many balls as possible during the final overs after he and Molineux (11 off 17) stitched a run-a-ball stand of 35 for the fifth wicket. With just 26 runs scored, Perry and Wareham put on 42, and the Royals scored 51 runs in the final five overs.

In Ismail’s last over and the 17th of the innings, Perry eventually reached 50 off 40 deliveries after hitting the seamer for two fours early in the over. In the eighteenth, she struck Amelia Kerr for two more boundaries. Perry smashed eight fours and a six in her fifty balls, but in the last over, she was caught in the deep off Ishaque.

Also Read: Ellyse Perry Shines for RCB in WPL 2024

RCB Spinners' and Ellyse Perry Heroics Propel Team to WPL 2024 Final: A Thrilling Recap

Mumbai Started the Run-chase Cautiously

Although the goal appeared low, Mumbai lost Matthews at the first wicket in the fourth over, as Patil removed her for just 15. After that wicket, Mumbai wanted to finish the powerplay without taking any more wickets, so they played conservatively. By bowling dot balls on a pitch that was twisting and clinging to the surface, RCB applied additional pressure. Mumbai had slumped to 37 for 1 at the end of six overs.

Perry bowled out Yastika Bhatia for a 19 off of 27 balls shortly after she returned to the playing XI after being absent owing to illness in the previous game. A few overs later, Wareham smashed the stumps to conclude Sciver-Brunt’s 23-run cameo. After 11 overs, 67 runs from 54 balls remained in the equation.

Kerr and Harmanpreet put on Fifty Runs Partnership

Mumbai got out to a slowish start, but as Harmanpreet and Kerr were still in the team, there was no need to panic. Their goal was to continue getting singles and to identify the odd border for each over. For the Mumbai duo, Molineux and Patil made runs, but they also found methods to defuse situations.

In the partnership, Kerr went hard on Wareham for two fours, and Harmanpreet, who was on 21 off 22 at one point, hammered Perry for two. In 44 balls, the two shared a 52-run stand.

Also Read: Exciting IPL 2024 Opener: CSK vs RCB on March 22

RCB Spinners' and Ellyse Perry Heroics Propel Team to WPL 2024 Final: A Thrilling Recap

RCB Had the Last Lough

Mumbai simply needed twenty more balls, with eighteen remaining. But Patil’s game-changing eighteenth over was still to come. Following a huge stumping opportunity that Ghosh missed to remove Harmanpreet with the opening ball, Patil pushed Harmanpreet to step out once more from her penultimate delivery, but she was bowled out to long-on for 33.

Mumbai needed to make sixteen off twelve as Molineux delivered the penultimate over. She bowled from both sides of the wicket, varying her lengths. When S Sajana skipped down and failed to make a reckless swing, she was disqualified off the fifth ball. Ghosh left 12 for the last over after making no mistakes behind the stumps this time.

Before Devine and Renuka Singh, Mandhana gave the ball to Asha, with Kerr and Vastrakar at the crease. In the first three balls, she gave up just four runs and removed Vastrakar. Kerr eventually needed a six off the last ball to force extra innings, but all she could muster was a misplayed shot for one.

Harmanpreet: The Turning Point Came with My Wicket

Unlike the previous season, the Mumbai skipper claims that their 2024 campaign was up and down.

RCB Spinners' and Ellyse Perry Heroics Propel Team to WPL 2024 Final: A Thrilling Recap

Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain of the Mumbai Indians, feels that her wicket was the decisive factor in their five-run defeat that eliminated them from the WPL 2024. Mumbai, with Harmanpreet and Amelia Kerr batting and seven wickets in hand, were in control of their 136 chase, needing 16 runs off 13 balls.

However, after Sophie Molineux gave up just four runs in the 19th over and removed S Sajana, Harmanpreet holed out to long-on at the end of the 18th over, making it 12 off six for the remainder of the Mumbai lineup.

After the game, Harmanpreet remarked, “We just needed one boundary in 12 balls, and we were not able to get it.” That’s what you learn from this game every time. You’re under pressure, and you have to keep improving.
“When we lost my wicket, after that our batters could not hold their nerve, that was the turning point.”

Mumbai had held RCB to 135 runs, which under the circumstances seemed doable, particularly considering that at the midway point, Mumbai was 60 for 2 and needed 76 from 60. After Nat Sciver-Brunt fell in the eleventh over, Harmanpreet and Kerr guided them with a consistent partnership of 52, which saw them hit regular boundaries by the fifteenth over.

After Harmanpreet avoided a stumping opportunity off Shreyanka Patil after Richa Ghosh was unable to collect the ball cleanly, they went from 43 off 30 to 20 off 18. However, Sophie Devine caught Harmanpreet at long on after Patil had him caught five balls later.

“We put up a great fight,” Harmanpreet remarked. We’ve had some ups and downs this season. As a squad, we performed really well last season, but this year we were a touch hit and miss. However, this season taught us a lot, and perhaps we’ll prepare even more and return stronger the next year.”

Harmanpreet, though, gave Sajana a lot of credit after she defeated the Delhi Capitals in the final over by hitting a breathtaking six off the first ball of the WPL.

“We found our player of the year, SS (Sajana), during this tournament; she is someone who can hit the ball really hard,” Harmanpreet remarked. “We want the WPL to develop more young players, and it’s encouraging to see that young females are showing up and giving it their all.

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