Royal Challengers Bangalore are not done yet. The Smriti Mandhana-led side lost their first five encounters but consecutive wins against UP Warriorz and Gujarat Giants have kept them alive in the tournament.
They still don’t have their fate in their own hands through. Bangalore don’t just need to win their remaining game against Mumbai Indians but will also need UP to lose both their games, preferably by good margins.
This game was all about Sophie Devine. The right-handed opener from New Zealand smoked nine fours and eight maximums in her 36-ball 99 and made a mockery of Gujarat’s 189-run target.
The 33-year-old missed out on an opportunity to smash the fastest century in this format, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was one of the most destructive innings in the history of women’s cricket. Mandhana (31-ball 37) also played her part and allowed Devine to wreak havoc.
“I think we took a lot of confidence from the last game. I felt they were a bit above par given how wickets were playing, but then when we walked out to bat I realised we had done well with the ball,” said Mandhana at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Today, the way we bowled in the middle overs we restricted them to a good total on a good surface. And then just two words - SOPHIE DEVINE. My job was very easy, just giving the singles to her and watching it, could have done with some popcorn. Some of the sixes were really massive.
“I think the whole atmosphere has been very positive, we have improved as a bowling, fielding and batting unit. We had a few doubts the way we started but now with two wins I'm more assured that we are an amazing team.”
In the process, Devine also became the leading run-scorer in this competition, going past Delhi Capitals skipper Meg Lanning. “Always nice to beat Meg in something. I was in the zone tonight, milestones don't get to me so at 99 it wasn't about a drop and run, it was about getting the team home earlier. Hopefully, we can still be in the run for the playoffs,” said Devine.
“I think I've got used to the conditions now, having watched a few games and I'm learning everyday. It perhaps helps that I'm a bit older. Massive credit to the bowlers earlier, conditions were tough with minimal swing and no spin. I think I've just snuck in and taken the credit with this innings. I think the one that ended up in the top tiers was my favourite shot of today.”
Meanwhile, GG captain Sneh Rana simply couldn’t believe what she witnessed. “Short of words now. But this is what happens in the game of cricket. We had a good total but couldn't do it with the ball. I think we weren't up to the mark with the bowling, and that cost us. I think we need to come out of this game, but we will come back stronger.”