Mandhana and Perry fifties help RCB end Bengaluru leg with a win

Smriti Mandhana scored her WPL best of 80 off just 50 balls BCCI

Royal Challengers Bangalore 198 for 3 (Mandhana 80, Perry 58, Ecclestone 1-22) beat UP Warriorz 175 for 8 (Healy 55, Asha 2-29, Molineux 2-29) by 23 runs

Was it a grimace or a grin that spread across Ellyse Perry's face with the sound of smashing glass and screaming RCB fans ringing in her ears? A grin, surely, for she had just obliterated the window of a sponsor's car with her fourth six of a remarkable innings which helped her side to a mammoth total and, ultimately, victory over UP Warriorz.

Smriti Mandhana had already roughed up the Warriorz bowlers with her stunning 80 off 50 deliveries, her second half-century in three games, and Perry delivered the decisive blow with a 37-ball 58, the pair sharing a 95-run stand for the second wicket to set Warriorz a lofty victory target of 199.

A determined 55 off 38 balls by Alyssa Healy gave Warriorz hope but it wasn't enough as RCB held on to break a two-game losing streak in their last match at home in Bengaluru before the tournament moves to Delhi, giving Perry and her team plenty to smile about.

Mandhana magic

S Meghana moved up to open ahead of Sophie Devine and raced to 28 off 21 balls with five fours to complement Mandhana's no-nonsense scoring. By the end of the powerplay, RCB were flying at 57 for 1, Meghana skying Anjali Sarvani to extra cover where Chamari Athapaththu stood waiting under a comfortable catch. Her departure signalled Perry's arrival as Devine stayed in the dugout, RCB continuing to play with their batting order.

Mandhana should have been out for 28 when she lofted Sophie Ecclestone down the ground but Athapaththu looked like she wanted the ground to swallow her up after she over-ran what should have been a straightforward catch. She sprinted in from long-off and then had to reach overhead but failed to hold on. Mandhana moved to 48 by advancing down the pitch and punching a Rajeshwari Gayakwad delivery over extra cover for a 75m six and she brought up her half-century off 34 balls swinging Grace Harris away through midwicket for a single. Perry chimed in with a maximum off Harris over wide long-on and Mandhana picked off three boundaries in one Athapaththu over followed by three more off Sarvani - plus one to Perry - leaving UP Warriorz looking bereft.

Smashing from Perry

By the time Mandhana holed out to deep midwicket off Deepti Sharma in the 17th over, she and Perry had done serious damage, with RCB cruising at 146 for 2. Gayakwad conceded 21 runs off the 18th over, chiefly through back-to-back sixes to Perry followed by another maximum, slog-swept by Richa Ghosh, who came in at No. 4. Perry raised her fifty off 34 balls charging at Deepti and smashing the ball back over the bowler's head for four. But it was her heave over wide long-on two balls later off Deepti that was the highlight, leaving the ball to be fished from a mound of glass on the back seat of the promotional car and Warriorz with a mountain to climb. Perry fell in the final over, spooning an Ecclestone delivery to Poonam Khemnar at deep midwicket. Ghosh threaded the final ball of the innings through backward point for four as RCB finished just shy of the 200-mark.

Warriorz come out fighting

After a maiden from Renuka Singh to begin, Warriorz set off in keen pursuit, Healy smashing two sixes off Devine in the second over and Renuka conceding an eye-watering 24 off the next. Devine had Kiran Navgire caught by Georgia Wareham, running back from mid-on in the fifth over, but at the end of the powerplay, Warriorz were just one run behind where RCB had been at the same point in their innings. Healy greeted leg-spinner Wareham's first ball with a slog sweep for six but she was left stunned when RCB removed Athapaththu on review. A wide-eyed Healy shouted, "no way" when ball-tracking showed the ball pitching in on leg stump and going on to hit middle stump halfway up, contrary to the expected path of a conventional leg-spinner.

Harris was relaxed and smiling when she arrived to join Healy at the crease but Devine claimed her second wicket with a slower length ball which Harris looked to scoop, only to find Ghosh, who anticipated her shot and started moving to her left and leapt high in the air to claim an excellent catch. Undeterred, Healy helped herself to three consecutive fours off Wareham's next over. But then Asha Sobhana, who had taken a five-for as RCB squeaked home by two runs in the first meeting of 2024 between these sides, struck with her third delivery of the match to remove Shweta Sehrawat cheaply. Healy brought up her fifty off 34 balls with four off Asha through midwicket but, no sooner had she nailed a reverse sweep off Sophie Molineux to the boundary than she was out, stumped by Ghosh off the next ball.

Asha does it again

Needing 52 runs off the last four overs, Warriorz weren't done battling as Deepti and Khemnar offered neat cameos in a 41-run stand for the sixth wicket. Both struck four fours and a six en route to 33 and 31 respectively but, in an attempt to reel in the target, Deepti came down the pitch to Asha and skewed the ball straight up. Asha and Ekta Bisht - the latter making her WPL debut at the age of 38 - both went for the catch and Asha managed to hold on, despite becoming entangled with her team-mate and going to ground. Wareham soon removed Ecclestone but Khemnar wouldn't give up, ending the over with a four and a six. But, with 29 needed off the last, the task proved too much. Molineux bowled Khemnar with the final ball of the match as she, Asha, Wareham and Devine all finished with two wickets apiece.

UPW Women 2nd innings Partnerships

1st47AJ HealyKP Navgire
2nd16AJ HealyAMCJK Athapaththu
3rd11AJ HealyGM Harris
4th15AJ HealyS Sehrawat
5th24AJ HealyDB Sharma
6th41DB SharmaPN Khemnar
7th5S EcclestonePN Khemnar
8th16K Anjali SarvaniPN Khemnar