WPL 2024: Hosts RCB Look to Continue Winning Momentum Against Gujarat Giants on Home Turf

Two teams at the opposite end of the points table will clash at Bengaluru’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday as hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) take on Gujarat Giants (GG) in Match 5 of the 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL).

RCB prevailed in a last-ball thriller against UP Warriorz on Saturday, much to the delight of the packed house in their home ground. There were plenty of positives for RCB in their opening game, which they can carry into their second match.

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The batting of Sabbhineni Meghana and Richa Ghosh, who rescued RCB from an early stutter by putting on 71 runs for the fourth wicket and helped the side get to a total that proved just about enough in the end, was a major tick in the box for the franchise who rely hugely on their skipper Smriti Mandhana and their overseas contingent to do the bulk of the work.

Their biggest gain from the match, however, was the performance of leg-spinner Asha Sobhana, who took a fifer and helped the side begin the tournament with a win.

There were other positives as well for the side, which included new ball bowling from Renuka Singh Thakur and Sophie Molineux, the latter dismissing fellow Alyssa Healy with a ball that spun enough to take the off stump. The duo maintained a tight line for large parts of the initial overs to ensure the target of 158 runs looked bigger than was the case.

The franchise will also hope that overseas pros such as Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry can make a bigger contribution with the bat on Tuesday.

The Gujarat Giants endured, unarguably, the harshest defeat among all teams who have played their first matches in the competition so far. Despite possessing world-class batters such as Beth Mooney, young and upcoming stars such as Phoebe Litchfield and quality all-rounders such as Ashleigh Gardener in their ranks, GG could not come up with the goods with the bat and as a result, put up a paltry score that was never going to be enough against MI.

Their bowling showed glimpses of what they can do if they have enough runs on the board and Tuesday presents the Mooney-led side with an opportunity to put points on the board against RCB.

The one definite positive that GG will take into the match would be the all-round performance of Tanuja Kanwer, who made 28 runs with the bat to ensure her side batted the full 20 overs and later took 2 for 21 in her four overs to give a ray of hope to clinch victory in the contest.

The atmosphere during RCB’s opening clash against UP Warriorz was electrifying, to say the least, and if the watching public that turned up got a match as exciting as the one on Saturday, then everybody would have had their money’s worth.

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What: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Giants, Match 5, Women’s Premier League 2024

When: February 27, 2024, 7:30 PM IST

Where: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

Likely playing XIs

While both teams endured opposite results in their respective opening matches, they would be keen to give their players another chance before pondering over changes to their playing XIs.

RCB: Smriti Mandhana (c), Sophie Devine, Sabbhineni Meghana, Ellyse Perry, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Shreyanka Patil, Simran Bahadur, Asha Sobhana, Renuka Thakur Singh.

GG: Beth Mooney (c & wk), Veda Krishnamurthy, Phoebe Litchfield, Harleen Deol, Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sneh Rana, Tanuja Kanwar, Kathryn Bryce, Lea Tahuhu, Meghna Singh.

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