It has been a brilliant start to the Women’s Premier League, with two clashes where teams batting first have scored way beyond the 200-run mark. But for a team on the losing side, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), it is a tough start, considering how they walked out with a near all-star unit against Delhi Capitals in their opening encounter.
Batting first, Delhi threw caution to the wind, with a stunning partnership at the top of the order between Indian superstar, Shafali Verma and an all-time great, Meg Lanning. The duo struck a chord immediately, sharing a 162-run opening partnership. That was ultimately the turning point, costing RCB crucial points.
RCB’s skipper Smriti Mandhana rued the loss, and insisted that they gave away 20-30 runs extra, which ultimately came to bit them back in the second half. However, the opener insisted that the beauty of the competition is such that they can make a comeback later on Monday (March 6), when they play their second game.
"Definitely not the start we wanted. We gave 20-30 runs extra. We'll think about our plans and come back stronger tomorrow. As a pace bowling unit, we didn't go pace off like Delhi did so that's one thing we need to think of and work on,” Smriti revealed at the post-match presentation.
It wasn’t just the bowling, Bangalore were well in the contest during the second half of the clash, with the bat. But none of their top-order batters – Smriti, Ellyse Perry – or middle-order batter, Heather Knight couldn’t convert their starts into a substantial score.
“We are used to playing in other franchises back to back but for us to take positives out of this and things that didn't go our way, we have a few hours to think about it and come back stronger tomorrow. I don't think the pitch or wicket changed. Our batters, we all got starts but couldn't continue. Batters got starts like me and Heather but we couldn't take it over."
In a clash where there were 386 runs scored, you would assume that it is the batter who would have walked away with the plaudit. But it wasn’t, thanks to Tara Norris. The American cricketer put on a show, removing Perry before picking up four more wickets, including the final nail in Bangalore’s coffin – Knight.
"Delighted. I think Meg and Shafali started fantastically with the bat to take a bit of the pressure off the bowlers. But yeah, really happy. I never thought I'd have an opportunity like this in my career so just to be here has been absolutely amazing,” Norris said at the post-match presentation.
“So I'm absolutely delighted. [Asked which was her favorite wicket] Probably the first was pretty special. Like I said, just to be here has been amazing. So the fact that I got a chance to play and have a bowl has been awesome."