WPL: Healy hurricane sends RCB’s campaign for a spin, UP hand a fourth straight defeat

With six needed to score the first ever Women’s Premier League hundred and just one needed to finish the game, UP Warriorz captain Alyssa Healy danced down the track against Shreyanka Patil. A big heave ended up at deep mid wicket. All she could manage was a single. A cheeky grin followed. The century didn’t happen but the flamboyant opener ended up with 96 runs off 47 deliveries, the highest score of the league so far, to propel UP to a 10 wicket win against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Chasing 139, Healy used the short Brabourne stadium boundaries with 18 fours and one maximum, doing the heavy lifting in the chase that was capped inside 13 overs.

Completing her fifty off 29 deliveries, the Australian keeper-batter took off the chase against Renuka Singh Thakur in the 9th over. Thakur had previously dismissed Healy four times in T20s but on Friday, it was payback time for the Australian who hit her for 4 fours off successive deliveries.

“At the time-out, we discussed about not dragging it out until the final over,” Healy would reveal post-match. “Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. Today it did and I am really happy about that.”

Replacing Shweta Sehrawat as Healy’s opening partner, Devika Vaidya added 36 off 31 in the win that took UP to the third spot in the points table with two wins in three matches.

The loss marked a fourth for RCB in four games as they remained stuck at the bottom of the table.

The big spin duo delivers

Earlier, eight of RCB’s 10 wickets fell to spinners. Seven of them was shared between Sophie Ecclestone and Deepti Sharma.

“When you throw them the ball, you know what you’ll get,” UP Warriorz captain Healy had said of Ecclestone and Sharma after their first match in WPL 2023. Living up to their skipper’s words, the fabled spin duo skinned apart the RCB batting to 138, registering bowling figures of 4/13 and 3/26 respectively.

Already under the pump and at the bottom of the points table going into Friday night’s game at the Brabourne Stadium, RCB captain Smriti Mandhana opted to bat first after flipping the coin in her side’s favor.

And RCB got off to a flier, scoring 54 runs in the powerplay. Having scored the most boundaries in the powerplay — the most for any team in the tournament so far, Bangalore lost the plot in the last 10 overs. While Ellyse Perry’s half-century set base for a huge total, they ended up losing their last 8 wickets for only 53 runs in the second half of the innings.

With Perry and Sophie Devine stitching 44-run stand for the second wicket, Ecclestone provided UP with the much needed breakthrough, cramping Devine for room as she attempted a late cut shot, leaving her off stump knocked.

Returning for her third over, the England international removed the more than handy Shreyanka Patil, who sliced a full length delivery outside off straight to the fielder at cover. In her final act with the ball, Eccelstone would bag two wickets off two balls in the 20th over, cleaning up Renuka Singh off an attempted slog and trapping Sahana Pawar in front of the wickets with one that straightened just enough.

Earlier, Deepti Sharma was the one who started the collapse, removing Perry and Erin Burns in the same over. While Perry fell to an attempted sweep, Burns, who replaced Annabel Sutherland in the lineup, came down the track and missed it altogether.

“I think in the last four games, it has been happening. We start well and we lose a cluster of wickets. I will take the blame as well. As a top order batter, we need to put up runs on the board for the bowlers to defend,” RCB captain Mandhana rued afterwards.

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