If the Women’s Premier League title were to be decided on the auction table, Royal Challengers would have been a front-runner.
But, then, cricket is the strangest of games. RCB may not disagree. Four matches into the league, it is without a win. The latest humiliation came at the hands of UP Warriorz, which was too keen at the auction to pack the squad with spinners.
On this night, those slow women played the decisive role — aside from yet another disappointing show with the bat by RCB — as Warriorz won by 10 wickets with seven overs to spare. The five-pronged spin attack was led by the World No. 1 T20I bowler, Sophie Ecclestone, who took four for 13.
RCB was bowled out for 138 and the modest total was chased down with ease by Warriorz.
It was captain Alyssa Healy who led the reply with an unbeaten 96 off just 47 balls (18×4, 1×6). Playing the support role to perfection was Devika Vaidya (36 not out, 31b, 5×4), who justified her promotion with a solid innings.
Earlier, RCB once again made good use of the PowerPlay — 54 for one — despite the loss of skipper Smriti Mandhana early. For the fourth time in a row, the left-hander fell to a spinner, this time to her India teammate Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who struck with her very first ball. Smriti came down the track to the left-armer, but ended up giving a simple catch to Anjali Sarvani at extra-cover.
But Smriti’s opening partner Sophie Devine (36, 24b, 5×4, 1×6) produced the big hits she is known for and when Ellyse Perry (52, 39, 6×4, 1×6), also looked in splendid nick, hopes soared for the sizeable number of the RCB fans inside the stadium. After Perry’s dismissal, with nearly five overs remaining, RCB disintegrated.