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Spinners, Perry hand RCB maiden WPL title


NEW DELHI: A spin bowling masterclass was followed by a solid top-order show as Royal Challengers Bangalore blew away Delhi Capitals by eight wickets in a one-sided final to clinch their maiden

Women’s Premier League

title on Sunday.
Washing away RCB men’s team’s 16 years of hurt and disappointment,

Smriti Mandhana

and Co. produced one the finest performance in Delhi’s rout in their own backyard for their maiden title.

The troika of

Shreyanka Patil

(4/12), Sophie Molineux (3/20) and Asha Sobhana (2/14) was on a rampage, sharing nine wickets between them as a stunned Delhi batting order collapsed 113 all out.

From there on, the match was headed in one way.

As It Happened
But the formalities had to be completed. RCB did it via their talismanic skipper Smriti Mandhana (31), Sophie Devine (32) and the impactful Ellyse Perry (35 not out).
The Royal Challengers made 115 for two in 19.3 overs, a far easier victory than that tight-looking final over finish.

There will be celebrations in the dressing room, at a packed Arun Jaitley Stadium where a near full house bayed for a RCB win and in thousands of living rooms miles away in Bangalore.

A generation of RCB fans have waited for this moment, a wait that often gave fodder to social media trolls and memes.

All they could show during these years were three final appearances in 2009, 2011 and 2016.
But all that changed tonight. They have a trophy in their cabinet now.

But DC, led by Meg Lanning, will rue the missed chance of bettering their runners-up position from WPL 2023, whereas RCB improved their fourth-place finish last year in a brilliant fashion.

Chasing a modest target, RCB started cautiously with the pair of Mandhana and Devine sharing 49 runs in 8.1 overs.
While Mandhana played the role of an anchor, Devine opted to attack, decorating her innings with five boundaries and one maximum before she was trapped in front by pacer Shikha Pandey.
The wicket seemed to have slowed down RCB as Mandhana and Perry struggled to find their timing as boundaries dried up.
Perry finally broke the shackles in the 13th over, hitting pacer Arundhati Reddy to the deep midwicket boundary and then two balls later Mandhana cut the bowler to backward point fence.

RCB were nearly at home, reaching 82 for one in the 15th over but a rash shot from Mandhana led to her downfall.
The left-hander skied a Minnu Mani delivery to Reddy at mid-on to keep the contest alive.
But Perry continued her fine run and in the company of Richa Ghosh (17 not out) calmly helped RCB reach 115 in 19.3 overs, sharing an unbeaten 33 runs for the third wicket.
Ghosh finished off the chase in style with a four off Reddy.
But the RCB spinners too can claim rightful credit for this triumph.
DC were cruising at 64 for no loss in 43 balls before they committed harakiri, losing 10 wickets for just 49 runs in front of a 28,781 capacity crowd, who looked divided in their loyalties.
Molineux started DC’s downfall, picking up three wickets in the eighth over.
Thereafter, the hosts never really recovered, losing wickets at regular intervals, courtesy some loose shots and off-spinner Shreyanka’s exploits in the middle and late overs.
It came after Lanning (23 off 23) and Shafali Verma (44 off 27) looked in a different world as they upped the tempo in a linear fashion.
Lanning played the second fiddle as Shafali went hammer and tongs after a slow start in the first 11 balls.
Shafali was particularly destructive straight down the ground as she slammed her first three sixes in that region.
She opened up her arms in the final delivery of the second over when she went down on her knee to dispatch Molineux over long-on for the first six of the innings.
The right-arm pacer Renuka Singh was taken to task in the fourth over, which yielded 19 runs.
Shafali started the onslaught clobbering the bowler over her head for a six, which eventually inspired Lanning.
She struck two boundaries off the last two deliveries of the same over to match her partner as DC reached 52 in five overs.
But RCB managed to put brakes on DC when Molineux scalped three wickets in the eighth over, dismissing Shafali, Jemmimah Rodrigues and Alice Capsey.
After reaching 72 for 3 at the halfway mark, DC’s mainstay Lanning, who was trying to resurrect the innings, departed, getting trapped leg before by Shreyanka.
Thereafter, the home team kept losing wickets in search of unnecessary big shots to stumble to 81 for six.
It was mayhem for DC as they lost seven wickets for mere 23 runs in that period and the recovery never came forth.
The fans who filled the Jaitley stadium to the rafters also made this festival-like occasion, constantly rooting for their favourite teams and dancing to the tunes of drums and music.
But in the end, the red and gold brigade from the far South brought up a popular win.
(With inputs from PTI)

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