RCB have played five games so far, but are yet to secure a win. They have had a few individual performances, but the whole has always ended up being lesser than the sum of its parts.
Meanwhile, UP have been a mixed bag in terms of their performances, having won two and lost two in the first half. It doesn’t help that they still do not have a settled XI. For starters, the over-reliance on their overseas stars has meant that they have alternated between Grace Harris and Shabnim Ismail across the four games. Selecting one would leave the other department short on resources.
Alyssa Healy’s return to form bodes well for the Warriorz. She’ll be entering this game on the back of two half-centuries, the first of which came against RCB. In fact, in their previous encounter, they chased down a below-par target of 138 without breaking a sweat.
In their last game, RCB gave DC a scare, almost defending 150 against a well-oiled batting unit. For a change, it was RCB’s batting in the powerplay that let them down. It took a last-minute flourish from Ellyse Perry and Richa Ghosh to help them reach a respectable score.
In their last match, Bangalore, the most susceptible batting unit against spin, also managed to go wicketless against the spinners. With UP mainly depending on their spin troika of Deepti Sharma, Sophie Ecclestone and Rajeshwari Gaikwad for breakthroughs, they will have their task cut out in the next game.
With the track not really assisting spinners, RCB can also look to bring in Komal Zanzad instead of Preeti Bose. They would then have three genuine new-ball bowling options to leverage the movement on offer. Also, UPW’s overseas batters cumulatively average 44.1 and strike at 135.4 against SLAs. All the more a reason for RCB to replace Bose with a different option.
Ismail might not have done much in the WPL so far, but this is a venue where she could be too spicy to handle, even more so if they end up bowling first. UP should persist with her for at least a game to add some teeth to their pace attack.
Pitch and Conditions
DY Patil has been a lot less scarier for bowlers than Brabourne. They have conceded runs at 8.1 RPO here, compared to 9.4 RPO at Brabourne. They have also been taking wickets every 18 balls at DY Patil, compared to every 21 balls at Brabourne.
Also, it’s mainly been pacers making the ball talk at DY Patil, taking wickets around 33% more frequently than spinners. And batters have struggled to play the new ball, even more so in the first innings. This also a reason for the chasing bias at DY Patil. Teams chasing won four of the six WPL games here, including the last three.
The Devika Vaidya-opening experiment hasn’t yielded the greatest of results. After a steady 31-ball 36* vs RCB, she became another victim of the Saika juggernaut in their next game. Since Shweta Sehrawat won’t be adding much value at #8, it remains to be seen who do they open with, and would they replace the other option to strengthen their bowling?
RCB has the lowest average and run rate, of all teams, while facing spin in the powerplay. Despite DY Patil being a pace-friendly venue, expect UPW and their superior spin attack to bombard the RCB batters with spin.
Of late, Healy has struggled to get going against leg spinners. She averages 15 and strikes at 68 while playing leg spin since the start of this year. Asha Shobhana seemed to have good control over her craft in RCB’s last game, having returns of 2/27 of her four overs. RCB should look to use her early to help get rid of Healy early on.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Predicted XI: Smriti Mandhana (C), Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Heather Knight, Disha Kasat, Richa Ghosh (WK), Kanika Ahuja, Shreyanka Patil, Megan Schutt, Asha Shobhana, Renuka Thakur.
Kanika Ahuja had to miss out the last game due to sickness. Should she be fit, expect Preeti Bose to make way for her. Their last XI seemed right for the venue. Now, it’s all about turning up with an all-round performance.
Predicted XI: Alyssa Healy (C and WK), Devika Vaidya, Kiran Navgire, Tahlia McGrath, Deepti Sharma, Simran Shaikh, Shweta Sehrawat, Sophie Ecclestone, Shabnim Ismail, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
Expect them to continue with Ismail, to help strengthen their pace attack, at a pace-friendly surface.