WPL: Delhi Capitals brave Mandhana blitz to beat RCB

Delhi Capitals players celebate a wicket against Royal Challengers Bangalore at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: Delhi Capitals braved a sensational battering from Smriti Mandhana to hand a fighting Royal Challengers Bangalore a 25-run defeat in their Women's Premier League match here on Thursday.

Mandhana fused power and grace to score 74 (43b, 10x4, 3x6) but other batters did not quite make it big as Royal Challengers, who were without indisposed star all-rounder Elysse Perry, ended up at 169 for nine.

The Capitals made a challenging 194 for five as Shafali Varma mustered a 31-ball 50 after they were asked to bat first.

But that total was under severe threat when Mandhana tore into the DC attack with panache.

They went off the blocks in an energetic fashion as Mandhana took it upon herself the task of leading her side's reply.

She started with two fours off pacer Marizanne Kaap (2/38) and the left-hander only stepped up on the aggression from that point.

Royal Challengers Bangalore's captain Smriti Mandhana plays a shot during a Womens Premier League (WPL) match against Delhi Capitals at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. Photo: PTI

Mandhana faced 28 balls in the Power Play segment and hammered 45 runs as the home team reached an impressive 52 for no loss after six overs.

Sophie Devine just had to watch all the fun from her end as Mandhana reached her first-ever WPL fifty in just 32 balls when she took a quick two off off-spinner Minnu Mani.

Devine too had her own moments like when she moussed two successive sixes off Minnu, one each over long-on and mid-wicket.

But the Kiwi batter soon fell to pacer Arundhati Reddy as her top-edged pull ended in the hands of Jess Jonassen.

However, Mandhana continued her aggressive ways and smoked Kapp over mid-wicket for a six. But the veteran South African had the last laugh as she uprooted the off-stump with a slower delivery that beat Mandhana's tentative swish.

Richa Ghosh gave RCB a glimmer of hope, biffing Arundhati for two consecutive pulled sixes but fell to the guile of Kapp, whose climbing delivery curtailed the wicketkeeper-batter's stay.

Thereafter the task only grew steeper for RCB as left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen (3/21) produced an excellent spell. RCB lost six wickets for 18 runs at that stage.

Earlier, Verma (50, 3x4, 4x6) and Alice Capsey (46, 33b, 4x4, 2x6) added 82 runs for the second wicket as the Capitals recovered from the early loss of skipper Meg Lanning.

Kapp (32, 16b, 2x4, 3x6) and Jess Jonassen (36 not out, 16b, 4x4, 2x6) also played blinders towards the end to give a fillip to the Capitals as they added 58 runs for the fifth wicket in a little over four overs.

Verma, who was dropped on two by Shreyanka Patil off pacer Renuka Singh, and Capsey went about their task shifting seamlessly through the gears.

Verma gave a lot of steam to DC innings when she smashed left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux for a four and six off successive balls.

Capsey was more innovative in her shot selection, often bringing out reverse sweeps and scoops behind the stumper.

Verma reached her second fifty of this WPL with a six off off-spinner Shreyanka over mid-wicket.

But she fell in the very next ball, pulling Shreyanka straight into the hands of Georgia Wareham at mid-wicket.

De Klerk soon delivered a wonderful slow yorker to castle Capsey and Jemimah Rodrigues returned without contributing a single run as the Capitals slipped into a mini-slump.

However, Kapp and Jonassen took the RCB bowlers to the cleaners between 14th and 18th overs to ensure that DC would finish strong.

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