The sun had already set in the Mumbai sky as the Brabourne Stadium turned on its floodlights to host the 6th Women’s Premier League 2023 (WPL 2023) match between Gujarat Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore. With the heat beating down on the players, the toss played a crucial role in deciding the course of the game.
Gujarat Giants, after winning the toss, opted to bat first, and it turned out to be a wise decision. RCB’s Megan Schutt, the Australian pacer, started with a maiden over to set the tone for her team. However, the Giants soon found their rhythm, with Sophia Dunkley and S Meghana scoring runs at a brisk pace. Just when it seemed like the Giants were gaining momentum, Schutt struck a crucial blow by dismissing Meghana in the 3rd over.
This was the first wicket by an RCB pacer in the WPL, and it sent a message to the Giants that the Challengers were here to fight. Dunkley, however, wasn’t going to be deterred by Schutt’s early breakthrough. She and Harleen Deol took charge of the innings and scored 64 runs in the powerplay, including a scintillating 23-run fifth over against Preeti Bose. Dunkley was the aggressor, hitting 11 fours and three sixes on her way to a quickfire 65 off just 28 balls.
Her partnership with Deol was a sight to behold, as they stitched together a 60-run stand in just 30 balls before Dunkley was dismissed in the 8th over by Shreyanka Patil. Deol, however, continued the momentum and notched up a half-century, scoring 67 off 45 balls, including nine fours and one six. Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha, and Annabel Sutherland provided decent support to help Gujarat score 201/7 in 20 overs.
RCB’s Shreyanka Patil and Heather Knight took two wickets each, while Schutt and Renuka Singh got one each. Ellyse Perry, however, proved to be expensive, conceding 43 runs in her 4 overs.
RCB’s chase got off to a flying start, with Sophie Devine and Smriti Mandhana racking up 54 runs in the first five overs. However, Gardner sent back Mandhana for 18(14) in the sixth over, giving the Giants a much-needed breakthrough. Devine and Perry continued a decent partnership, with Perry looking to attack the bowlers. However, Mansi Joshi had other ideas and dismissed Perry in the 12th over, with the Australian scoring 32 off 25 balls.
Richa Ghosh departed soon after, scoring 10 off 10 in the 16th over. Devine, however, continued to hold the innings together, scoring a brilliant 66 off 45 balls, including eight fours and two sixes, before being dismissed in the 17th over by Sutherland. RCB needed 67 off the last four overs, with Heather Knight and other batswomen tasked with an improbable chase.
Knight, however, had other ideas and started attacking the bowlers from the word go. She scored a quickfire 30* off just 11 balls, but despite her efforts, RCB finished with 190/6, falling short by 11 runs. Gardner was the star of the show for the Giants, taking three wickets, while Sutherland took two and Mansi one.
This was the first victory for Gujarat Giants in three games, and it will give them a much-needed boost of confidence going into their next match. RCB, on the other hand, have now lost all three games, and their chances for playoffs look difficult.
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For Gujarat Giants, this win should give them a much-needed boost in confidence. After losing their first two games, they were under pressure to perform, and they did just that. Sophia Dunkley and Harleen Deol were the standout performers with the bat, but the likes of Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha, and Annabel Sutherland also provided some decent support.
With the ball, Gardner was the star, picking up three crucial wickets. If they can continue to perform like this, they could be a real threat in the upcoming games.
As for Royal Challengers Bangalore, they will be disappointed with yet another loss. They got off to a good start, with Sophie Devine and Smriti Mandhana scoring runs quickly, but they were unable to maintain the momentum throughout the innings. Heather Knight tried her best toward the end, but it wasn’t enough.
With three losses in three games, their chances of making it to the playoffs look difficult. They will need to regroup quickly and come up with a plan to turn their fortunes around.
With the league just starting to heat up, it will be interesting to see how both teams fare in the upcoming games. Will Gujarat Giants continue their winning form or will Royal Challengers Bangalore bounce back? Only time will tell.
WPL 2023: Gujarat Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Brief Score
Gujarat Giants 201/7 (Harleen Deol 67, Sophia Dunkley 65; Heather Knight 2-17) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 190/6 (Sophie Devine 66; Ashleigh Gardner 3-31) by 11 runs.