HomeFeatureWPL 2024: Royal Challengers Bangalore - Comprehensive Season Review

WPL 2024: Royal Challengers Bangalore – Comprehensive Season Review

WPL 2024: “Ee Sala Cup Namdu”, exclaimed skipper Smriti Mandhana at the post-match presentation ceremony. After much wait and anticipation, Royal Challengers Bangalore emerged victorious in the second season of the Women’s Premier League.

Led by Smriti Mandhana’s astute captaincy, the team navigated through highs and lows to emerge triumphant. In what was a fairytale campaign, RCB en route to winning the title defeated the Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator and the formidable Delhi Capitals in the Finals of the showpiece event.

Let’s delve deeper into the highs, lows, and areas of improvement for the team in this comprehensive season review.


RCB had a roller-coaster ride in the WPL group stages [Image: Getty]
RCB had a roller-coaster ride in the WPL group stages [Image: Getty]
To put it in perspective, the league stage matches panned out like this for RCB.

In the league stage, RCB showcased a mix of performances, winning four matches and losing four, ultimately finishing third on the table. They began with a promising start, securing victories against UP Warriorz and Gujarat Giants.

However, losses to Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians momentarily dented their momentum. The team regrouped with a win over UP Warriorz before facing mixed results in the Delhi leg with a couple of losses. Despite challenges, they secured a spot in the playoffs as the third-placed team.

RCB’s journey to the title was marked by impressive performances in the playoffs. In the Eliminator, they continued their good form, defeating Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring encounter. In the Finals, they clinched a comprehensive victory over Delhi Capitals to claim their first championship.

What worked well?

Smriti Mandhana’s Captaincy

Smriti Mandhana- Skipper exemplary! [Image: Getty]
Smriti Mandhana- Skipper exemplary! [Image: Getty]
Throughout the Women’s Premier League 2024 season, Smriti Mandhana proved to be an exemplary leader for the Royal Challengers Bangalore Women’s team. Mandhana’s leadership wasn’t just about making tactical decisions on the field; it was about instilling confidence and unity within the team.

She led by example, showcasing her batting prowess and composure under pressure. Mandhana’s ability to remain calm in crucial moments and her strategic acumen played a significant role in RCB’s success.

Her leadership style was marked by effective communication, astute game reading, and the ability to motivate her teammates, ultimately guiding the team to their maiden championship victory.

Richa Ghosh’s Form

Richa Ghosh was brilliant for RCB this season! [Image: Getty]
Richa Ghosh was brilliant for RCB this season! [Image: Getty]
One of the standout performers for RCB in the WPL 2024 season was Richa Ghosh. After enduring a lean patch in the previous season, Ghosh made a remarkable comeback with consistent and clutch performances at a strike rate of 141.98 and two scores of 50+. Her ability to rise to the occasion in pressure situations provided RCB with crucial momentum.

Ghosh’s aggressive batting style and ability to accelerate the scoring rate made her a valuable asset in the middle order. Moreover, her resilience and determination showcased her mental strength, highlighting her potential as a match-winner for RCB in future seasons.

Solid Spin Quartet

Dial RCB's spin department for wickets! [Image: Getty]
Dial Shreyanka for wickets! [Image: Getty]
The spin quartet comprising Shreyanka Patil, Sophie Molineux, Asha Sobhana, and Georgia Wareham emerged as the backbone of RCB’s bowling attack in WPL 2024.

These spinners collectively dominated the bowling charts, consistently providing breakthroughs and maintaining pressure on the opposition. Their ability to exploit the conditions and outsmart the opposition batsmen played a pivotal role in RCB’s success throughout the season.

Shreyanka Patil, in fact, ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the season with 13 wickets and also bagged the ‘Emerging Player of the Season’ Award.

Whether it was controlling the run flow in the middle overs or picking up crucial wickets during crucial phases of the game, the spin quartet proved to be RCB’s trump card in the tournament. Their performances were characterized by accuracy, variations, and the ability to adapt to different match situations, making them a formidable force in the competition.

Luke Williams’ Coaching Role

Luke Williams has been phenomenal for RCB this season as a Head Coach [Image: Getty]
Luke Williams has been phenomenal for RCB this season as a Head Coach [Image: Getty]
Luke Williams played a pivotal role as the head coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore Women’s team in the Women’s Premier League 2024 season. His coaching acumen and strategic insights contributed significantly to RCB’s success throughout the tournament. Prior to joining RCB, Williams had a successful coaching stint with the Adelaide Strikers in the Women’s Big Bash League, where he led the team to back-to-back titles.

One of Williams’ key strengths was his player-management skills, where he effectively nurtured the talents of individual players and maximized their potential. He created a conducive environment for players to thrive, instilling confidence and belief in their abilities. Also, Williams’ proactive approach to addressing challenges and adapting strategies based on match situations ensured that RCB remained competitive and resilient throughout the season.

Williams’ experience and success as a coach brought invaluable expertise to the RCB camp, providing the team with a competitive edge over their opponents. His ability to build cohesive team dynamics, analyze opposition strengths and weaknesses, and make strategic decisions during matches were instrumental in RCB’s triumph in the Women’s Premier League 2024.

What did not work well?

Form of Sophie Devine

Sophie Devine did not have an ideal season [Image: Getty]
Sophie Devine did not have an ideal season [Image: Getty]
Sophie Devine, a key player for RCB, had a challenging season in WPL 2024. Devine struggled to find her rhythm with the bat and showed vulnerability against pace bowling.

Her dip in form impacted RCB’s middle-order stability and run-scoring potential. Despite her reputation as a match-winner, Devine failed to convert starts into substantial scores, which put additional pressure on the lower order.

Moreover, her struggles against quality pace bowling raised concerns about her ability to adapt to different conditions and opposition strategies, highlighting an area for improvement in her game.

Strike Rate of S Meghana

S Meghana made a mark but the strike rate did come under the scanner [Image: Getty]
S Meghana made a mark but the strike rate did come under the scanner [Image: Getty]
While S Meghana made valuable contributions with the bat for RCB, her strike rate came under scrutiny during WPL 2024. Meghana’s inability to accelerate the scoring rate hindered RCB’s ability to build momentum, post challenging totals and in some matches chase them down.

In a format where strike rate plays a crucial role, her inability to attack from the get-go proved to be a dampener and limited the team’s scoring options and put pressure on the batsmen at the other end.

Despite her consistency in getting starts, Meghana’s inability to convert them into quick runs affected RCB’s overall batting performance, calling for a reassessment of her batting approach and role within the team.

Renuka Singh Thakur’s Form

Renuka Singh Thakur struggled in WPL 2024 [Image: Getty]
Renuka Singh Thakur struggled in WPL 2024 [Image: Getty]
Renuka Singh Thakur, despite her international experience, had a disappointing season for RCB in WPL 2024. Thakur struggled to make an impact with the ball, managing only two wickets in ten matches, an average of 113, an economy of  8.07 and a strike rate of 84- which is horrendous.

Her lack of wicket-taking ability and high economy rate exposed the team’s over-reliance on spinners and highlighted the need for a more balanced bowling attack. Thakur’s inability to maintain consistent line and length, coupled with her struggles to generate pace and movement, made her ineffective in crucial situations.

Her underwhelming performances raised questions about her role in the team and the need for improvement in her bowling form and execution.

Lack of Usage of Domestic Resources

The domestic players were used sparingly through the season [Image: Getty]
The domestic players were used sparingly throughout the season [Image: Getty]
Throughout the season, RCB’s team management faced criticism for the underutilization of players like Shradda Pokharkar, Disha Kasat, and Simran Dil Bahadur. These players, despite their potential, were not given enough opportunities to showcase their talent and contribute to the team’s success.

Their limited involvement in crucial matches raised questions about team selection and management decisions. Moreover, their absence from the playing XI on some occasions and lack of usage in some matches, potentially affected team balance and performance in pressure situations.

Moving forward, RCB needs to reassess their squad management strategies and ensure that all players are given fair opportunities to prove their worth and make meaningful contributions to the team’s success.

What Can They Do Ahead of the Next Season?

Lead Pacer Alternative

One area where RCB can significantly improve is in acquiring a reliable lead pacer for their bowling attack. While the spinners performed admirably, the team lacked a genuine pace threat that could complement their spin-bowling arsenal.

A quality pace bowler would provide RCB with added firepower, especially in conditions that favour seam bowling. Moreover, a lead pacer could provide crucial breakthroughs with the new ball and during the death overs, adding a new dimension to RCB’s bowling strategy and making them more formidable opponents in future seasons.

Backup Overseas Opener

Another area of concern for RCB is the lack of depth in the overseas opener department. While the team had talented overseas players in their ranks, the absence of a backup opener left them vulnerable in this case- the loss of form to Sophie Devine saw RCB tinker with the combinations.

Securing a reliable backup overseas opener would provide RCB with flexibility and cover at the top of the order, ensuring continuity in their batting lineup and minimizing disruptions during the course of the season.

Additionally, a backup opener would allow RCB to rotate their squad effectively and manage player workloads, providing them with a competitive edge in the tournament.

Final Thoughts?

Despite facing challenges and setbacks, the Royal Challengers Bangalore Women’s team showcased resilience, tactical acumen, and individual brilliance to clinch the Women’s Premier League 2024 title.

While several aspects of their performance worked well, some areas required improvement. Moving forward, RCB must address these areas of concern and focus on acquiring a lead pacer and securing a backup overseas opener to maintain their championship-winning momentum and emerge stronger in future seasons.

With strategic enhancements and player development initiatives, RCB can build a formidable team capable of sustained success in the Women’s Premier League.

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