WPL 2023: Teenaged Shafali Verma matches veteran Meg Lanning shot for shot in explosive opening partnership vs RCB

19-year-old Shafali Verma matched 30-year-old Meg Lanning shot to shot to give an explosive start for Delhi Capitals against Royal Challengers Banglore in the Women’s Premiere League at Brabourne in Mumbai on Sunday.

The duo established 162 run opening stand in just 14.2 overs when Lanning fell for 72 of just 43 deliveries which included 14 boundaries. A couple of balls later Shafali who looked in brutal hitting form departed for 83 of just 45 balls scoring 10 boundaries and two mamoth sixes.

Duo’s epic opening partnership had set the tone for a 200-plus score. RCB finally got the much-needed breakthrough in the 15th over when England skipper Heather Knight dismissed the duo with her off-spin. Knight cleaned up her Australian counterpart with a fuller delivery, and after just one delivery, Shafali went for a widish delivery with Richa Ghosh completing a brilliant catch to inflict a double blow.It was then left to Marizanne Kapp and Jemimah Rodrigues to give the final flourish, and they adding 59 runs in the back end.

Fresh from her T20 World Cup exploits, the South African batter smashed three sixes and three fours in her 17-ball unbeaten 39, while Jemimah complemented well in a 15-ball 22 (3×4).

A compact-looking Shafali never put a foot wrong, and picked the loose balls well to unleash her fury en route a 31-ball fifty with a single off Megan Schutt.

In the next over, the peerless Australian skipper Lanning followed suit with a 30-ball half-century, sweeping Heather Knight to fine leg for a four.

Having started off with 12 boundaries in the powerplay, Delhi cantered to the 100-run mark at the halfway mark as the duo accelerated well in the middle overs.

While the pair’s batting was majestic, Lanning and Shafali made merry against some listless bowling by the RCB bowlers.
On her WPL captaincy debut, Smriti Mandhana went on to use seven bowlers after she took the bold step of opting to bowl on a batting-friendly Brabourne.

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