In a Women’s Premier League match on Monday at the Brabourne Stadium, West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews led Mumbai Indians to a nine-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The Royal Challengers, who chose to bat first, were bowled out for 155 in 18.4 overs and went on to lose their second game in a row this season. Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, successfully chased down the goal with 34 deliveries remaining for their second straight triumph after a decisive victory against Gujarat Giants in the first game.
Mumbai maintained control of their chase due to Natalie Sciver-55* Brunt’s off 29 and Matthews’ 77* off 38. Matthews and Yastika Bhatia added a 45-run opening stand before Matthews and England’s Sciver-Brunt, who was the joint-most expensive foreign player at the auction with with Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner, put up an unbroken partnership of 114 runs.
Matthews demonstrated her effortless power by establishing boundaries throughout the entire park. She made several lovely straight drives and, when she could, picked runs off the wicket straight. Sciver-Brunt, who also took charge early on, was harsh with bowlers who used short pitches.
After just 48 pitches, the two right-handers reached their 100-run mark, then MI scored a total of 64 runs during the final 26 pitches.
Preeti Bose (1/34) of the right-arm off-spinners was the bowler of choice for RCB on a dismal night for Smriti Mandhana’s attack. With people like Renuka Singh Thakur, Megan Schutt, Ellyse Perry, and Sophie Devine among their ranks, one may have anticipated that they would exert more pressure, but they fell far short in comparison to Matthews and Sciver-aggression.
Mumbai had been experiencing a windy evening earlier, and Mandhana appeared prepared to throw a storm. She had scored a 23-ball 35 in the previous game, though it was a losing cause, and didn’t waste any time getting comfortable on what appeared to be a flat-ish pitch. The left-hander soon displayed her signature drives and pulls after hitting the second ball of the game for four.
In the fourth over bowled by English pacer Izzy Wong, Mandhana picked up three fours in four deliveries to take RCB 35 for no loss. Harmanpreet Kaur had used a different bowler in each of the first four overs but found herself under pressure.
But that’s when Saika Ishaque and Matthews returned for their second overs and the match decidedly turned in Mumbai’s favour. The spinners picked two wickets each as RCB went from 39/0 to 43/4 in a span of eight deliveries.
Left-arm spinner Ishaque, who had bagged excellent figures of 4/11 against Gujarat, first got rid of New Zealand’s Devine before dismissing Disha Kasat for a duck two balls later.
In the following over, Matthews successfully pulled Mandhana’s length back and bowled it wide to secure the crucial victory. The RCB captain attempted to clear the in-field after stepping out of her crease but ended up slashing it to point. Then Matthews cleaned up England’s Heather Knight by taking advantage of the grip that the pitch was offering.
When Perry (13 off 7) and Richa Ghosh got mixed up in the middle and the former was run out, things only got worse from there. After searching for a quick single and getting sent back, the Australian all-rounder had a very visible expression of frustration.
The Royal Challengers wanted Ghosh to continue and score large runs, but Matthews dismissed the keeper-batter for 28 off 26. The off-spinner, who finished the game with figures of 3/28, was the player to watch.
To help RCB to a reasonable total, Kanika Ahuja (22 off 13), Shreyanka Patil (23 off 15), and Schutt (20 off 14) put up a fight down the order, but it wasn’t nearly enough in the end.
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