Perry’s all-round heroics set up RCB’s finale in nail-biter

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Fortune smiled upon RCB during the toss, yet Smriti Mandhana defied convention by opting to bat first despite their recent successful chase against Mumbai Indians. Reverting to their original opening pair of Mandhana and Sophie Devine seemed promising initially, as they struck three boundaries in the first four balls.

However, MI’s bowlers swiftly turned the tide with their sharp deliveries. Devine was dismissed by Matthews in the second over, followed by Mandhana’s catch in the deep off Nat Sciver-Brunt, and Disha Kasat’s departure in the fourth over, leaving RCB struggling at 24/3 after four overs.

After a modest 34-run powerplay, Richa Ghosh and Ellyse Perry managed only 15 runs in the next three overs, with Shabnim Ismail bowling a maiden over. Perry tried to accelerate between overs 8-12, but boundaries were scarce. The score was 90/5 in 16 overs when Perry shifted gears, smashing 66 off 50 balls to guide RCB to a total of 136/6 in 20 overs.

In response, the defending champions started briskly until Hayley Matthews fell to Shreyanka Patil in the fourth over during a 37-run powerplay. RCB’s bowlers tightened the screws on Yastika Bhatia, leading to her dismissal after the field restrictions were lifted.

Wareham then removed the well-set Natalie Sciver-Brunt in the eleventh over. With the score at 69/3 in eleven overs, Harmanpreet (33) and Amelia Kerr added 52 runs before Harmanpreet’s dismissal at a crucial juncture. With 20 runs needed off the last three overs, Shreyanka Patil conceded just four runs and dismissed the opposition skipper, setting the stage for Sophie Molineux’s excellent 19th over that further troubled MI.

Kerr, standing firm at one end, saw MI needing 12 runs off the final over. However, Asha Shobana conceded just five runs and picked a wicket, leaving MI to require seven off the last ball. Despite Kerr’s solid performance, she couldn’t clear the ropes, resulting in RCB securing their first-ever final spot in WPL.

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