Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Smriti Mandhana said she is also to blame after a poor batting display saw the team suffer its fourth straight loss in the Women’s Premier League here on Friday. Opting to bat, RCB were bowled out for 138 and then saw UP Warriorz complete a 10-wicket win with as many as 42 balls to spare at the Brabourne Stadium. The defeat has dented RCB’s prospects of advancing further. “I think in the last four games, it has been happening. We start well and we lose a cluster of wickets. I will take the blame as well. As a top order batter, we need to put up runs on the board for the bowlers to defend,” Mandhana said after the game.
UPW captain Alyssa Healy led from the front with a scintillating 47-ball 96 not out as her team registered its second win in the tournament.
This was after UP Warriorz spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Deepti Sharma gave away very little while striking at regular intervals to bowl out RCB. Ellyse Perry top-scored for RCB with a 39-ball 52.
On the plans in the middle overs, Mandhana said, “We spoke about it before this match that we will try to take 7-8 runs per over but it did not work out today. As top-order batters, we need to bat well and put up a good total to defend. We don’t have injuries.
“We are trying to get a balanced team that can win us a game. I have tried to speak to almost all the players, pep them up and I have to keep doing it. Last week has been tough. Lots to reflect and lots to work on.” The India vice-captain added, “A lot of people have reached out to me and as an international cricketer, we have faced these situations before. I have my family around me always but I always believe that you have to sit by yourself and rectify your mistakes.” Healy and her opening partner Devika Vaidya (36 not out off 31 balls) meant business from the get-go, with the latter playing a perfect second fiddle to the aggressive Australian while also maintaining a strike rate of over run a ball.
Healy said it was “phenomenal” to keep RCB under 140 on such a track and praised her spinners for their wonderful display with the ball.
“I was really pleased with the bowlers. Before the game, I thought if we could keep them to under 200, it would be great. To keep a batting unit like that to a score under 140 was phenomenal,” Healy said.
Seasoned English left-arm spinner Ecclestone finished with incredible figures of 4/13 in her full quota of four overs, while Deepti ended with 3/26.
“It was spin to win tonight. It is still a good batting wicket but our spinners bowled well in partnerships. Anjali held her nerve too. Our bowlers executed really well tonight. Devika came into the top of the order and just showed her class.
“During the series we played against India, I thought what she was doing so low down the order. We just set the platform early. We got off to a really good start.
“At the time-out, we discussed about not dragging it out until the final over. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. Today it did and I am really happy about that,” Healy added.