Delhi Capitals 154 for 4 (Capsey 38, Rodrigues 32, Kapp 32*, Jonassen 29*, Asha 2-27) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 150 for 4 (Perry 67*, Ghosh 37, Pandey 3-23)
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s winless streak in the tournament continued as Marizanne Kapp and Jess Jonassen kept their cool to guide Delhi Capitals home in a close encounter at the DY Patil Sports Academy.
On a two-paced pitch, Royal Challengers got off the blocks slowly but ended up posting a competitive 150 thanks to Ellyse Perry’ half-century. In return, after losing the dangerous Shafali Verma early, Capitals got a good start thanks to Alice Capsey, but a few quick wickets pushed them to play watchfully.
The chase looked tense at a point after Jemimah Rodrigues’ wicket, with Capitals needing 42 runs off 33 balls. But Jonassen and Kapp not only patiently ran singles, but also turned the pressure back on the Royal Challengers’ bowlers with their big hits from time to time.
It came down to Capitals needing nine off the last over. Renuka Singh conceded just two runs in the first two balls. With seven needed off four, Jonassen clattered the ball over a leaping Perry at deep midwicket. She then smashed a full delivery emphatically down the ground to silence the “RCB, RCB” chants at the stadium.
However, it’s not all over for Royal Challengers yet. They are still mathematically in, but will need a number of results to go their way if they want to secure a top-three finish.
Shikha Pandey – far from finished
Before she was recalled to the India squad after a gap of 15 months for the T20 World Cup in February, Shikha Pandey wrote up an affirmation poster on her bedroom wall which read “our greatest growth comes from our darkest times. You go.” At 33, she’s growing and growing, not only showing she’s still got it, but also that she’s here to stay.
She had a decent outing at the T20 World Cup, with economical spells and a total of three wickets in three games. Now, she’s got those wickets coming too.
So far at the WPL, she has taken eight wickets in five matches. In a tournament that has seen a number of high scoring games, her economy of 6.84 is the third-best among fast bowlers who have bowled more than 10 overs.
On the day, she took out Royal Challengers’ captain Smriti Mandhana in her very first delivery, luring her into a pull to deep square leg with the short ball. She mixed her lengths on the day and made use of the slight movement on offer. On the last ball of her next over, she angled one into Sophie Devine and rattled her leg stump to leave Royal Challengers at 41 for 2 in nine overs.
Perry and Richa Ghosh came together for the fifth wicket and began to rebuild. The duo then started accelerating after gaining a grasp of the pace of the pitch, scoring 67 runs in four overs between the 15th and 18th.
It was Pandey’s turn to bowl again, and she broke through immediately. She had Ghosh, who was looking to scoop, edge one to the keeper, with a slow-ish full delivery. She finished with figures of 3 for 25 at an economy of 5.75.
In between all the wicket-taking, she also took a brilliant diving catch at short fine leg to send Heather Knight back.
Pandey’s bowling display and her energy on the field clearly showed that she’s far from finished. Her performance probably went unnoticed given how the chase unfolded, but captain Meg Lanning did not forget to credit her during the post-match chat with the host broadcaster.
“I think Shikha Pandey has gone under the radar a little bit,” Lanning said after the match. “She’s been bowling extremely well.”
“We executed really well. Obviously throughout this tournament we’ve shown that if you can hit that good length nice fast and straight is the way to do it. I think for most part we did that really well.”
Capsey turns it on
Before Jonassen and Kapp played those calm knocks, it was Capsey who laid the platform for the chase.
Teenager Capsey made up for Shafali’s early dismissal. She played a counter-attacking knock, hitting eight boundaries in her 24-ball stay, making the required run rate go down. Lanning faced just two balls during their 26-ball partnership.
After smashing Renuka Singh for three boundaries, she took Preeti Bose on for four boundaries in a row in the fifth over before holing out.
“I’ve been able to watch Meg abs Shafali do their thing almost every game,” Capsey told the commentators during a chat from the dugout. “So I have taken a few tips from them. It’s about playing through the line a little bit more and trusting it a little bit more which as a batter is a pretty nice adjustment to go that way than the other.”
Capitals have been using Capsey largely as a floater in the line-up. She came in at No. 5 in the match against UP Warriorz and played at No. 3 in the last two games. While she has played at No. 3 in the England side barring one game, she’s batted in the middle order regularly in the women’s Hundred.
“It’s a different role, but it’s a role I’m quite used to in England,” she said at the press conference. “England use me where, if there’s a wicket in the powerplay, I go in and try to create a bit of counterattack and if there’s a good partnership up top I slot into the role of [Nos.] 5 or 6 which I’ve done a couple of times. I really enjoy both roles. They’re very different roles and I do enjoy both roles. For me it is not too much difference I just go out to bat put pressure on bowlers.
Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo