Heartbreak for Ghosh as Capitals qualify for playoffs in thriller

RCB fall short by one run, meaning Gujarat Giants also stay just alive

Vishal Dikshit

10-Mar-2024 • 17 hrs ago

Takeaways: Jemimah Rodrigues 2.0 powers Delhi Capitals

Delhi Capitals 181 for 5 (Rodrigues 58, Capsey 48, Patil 4-26) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 180 for 7 (Ghosh 51, Perry 49, Capsey 1-5) by one run

The WPL dished out a scintillating thriller for the third night in a row to cap off a bumper weekend that saw a second team – Delhi Capitals – seal a knockout berth after Mumbai Indians did the same on Saturday night. Richa Ghosh, however, couldn’t replicate what Harmanpreet Kaur did for Mumbai because despite her belligerent 51 off 29, Royal Challengers Bangalore still fell short by just one run after she and Sophie Devine had reduced the required equation from 74 off 36 balls to 40 off 18, and then two off one with Ghosh on strike.

Capitals’ win means Gujarat Giants, at the bottom of the table, stay alive. Also, Capitals’ head-to-head against RCB stands at a dominating 4-0 from two seasons.

Capitals were ahead in the game after dismissing Smriti Mandhana early, Ellyse Perry in the middle overs and Devine for 26 that left RCB to get 40 from 17. With Georgia Wareham’s six-ball 12 for support, Ghosh continued to find boundaries to bring it down to 17 off the last over. Ghosh started that with a disdainful six over the bowler and farmed the strike to keep going for the big hits. She belted another six on the fifth ball when RCB required eight from the last two, but couldn’t clear backward point on the last ball and failed to make her ground at the non-striker’s end despite a full-length dive.

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A dejected Ghosh lay flat on the ground with her head buried after the run-out as the Capitals fielders celebrated around her. The result means Mumbai and Capitals are in the top two, RCB and UP Warriorz on third and fourth respectively with six points each, and Giants still in technically despite just one win from five games. The team that finishes third will claim the remaining knockout berth.

Ghosh nearly does it

Once Perry was run-out for 49 at the end of the 11th over, RCB needed a stiff 93 off 54 with an out-of-form Devine joining a scratchy Sophie Molineux. Molineux soon fell for 33 off 30 and Devine would have been run out too, had the wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia not lost the ball before breaking the stumps. With 73 to get off 34 balls, Devine laid into Radha Yadav’s left-arm spin to muscle two sixes and a four in consecutive balls to make it 57 off 30.

Ghosh then went after Arundhati Reddy. The first ball off the 16th was tickled fine for four, and the last smacked all the way over the covers. Forty-five off 24 now with seven wickets in hand. The experienced Shikha Pandey brought Capitals back with a five-run over before Marizanne Kapp had Devine hole out to the longer square boundary for 26 off 16 to leave the onus on Ghosh’s shoulders. Wareham collected two fours, and Ghosh unleashed an unbelievable half-bat-open scoop on the off side fine for four, but her last-over sixes and last-ball dive wasn’t enough.

RCB spinners hit the brakes after fifty opening stand

After a quiet three overs to the Capitals start, Meg Lanning tore into Renuka Singh’s second over for four fours featuring three trademark Lanning cuts and square drives in a 20-run over also including three wides. But soon after Shafali Verma took off with a six and four off WPL debutant and left-arm quick Shradda Pokharkar, the spinners but the brakes on Capitals’ charge.

After Molineux bowled her first two overs for just 12, Asha Sobhana induced Shafali’s leading edge off a ripping legbreak to dismiss her for 23, and Shreyanka Patil celebrated her return to the XI by trapping Lanning lbw after the powerplay for 29.

The ecstasy and the despair, all one in one frameBCCI

Rodrigues sweeps RCB away

On a pitch that saw some turn and consistent lack of bounce, Jemimah Rodrigues and Alice Capsey, who swapped their positions at Nos. 3 and 4, took their turns to attack. While Capsey collected two fours down the ground off Patil, Rodrigues took out her sweep. She first paddled a free hit off Pokharkar for four and then struck two fours out of the three off Molineux in the 13th over. When Georgia Wareham pitched well outside off to negate the sweep, Rodrigues exhibited glorious shots on the off side for consecutive fours, ending the 14th with a majestic inside-out six over the covers for a 26-ball fifty.

Patil returns for more brakes

Patil stole the show by bowling two of the last three overs. She fired in deliveries to the set batters, and after only three singles in the first four balls of the 18th, she bowled Rodrigues for 58 in a four-run over. Capsey and Marizanne Kapp, fit and back in the XI, smoked the next over for 18 runs but Patil again frustrated Capitals with her speed and stifling lines that accounted for Capsey and Jonassen to concede just five in the over and finish with 4 for 26.

The Perry spice in RCB’s sedate start

Mandhana fell early – to an offspinner for the third time in a row – before Perry pushed the run rate with swipes for a six and four off Jonassen and two fours off a Kapp over to lead them to 42 in the powerplay. The asking rate had crossed ten, but Perry continued to collect boundaries off Jonassen, while Molineux failed to catch up with the rate.

Despite getting a life on 48, Perry fell without facing another ball because she went for a non-existent single and fell short despite a full-length dive in the 11th over. Molineux holed out to Rodrigues at deep cover in the next over, and it brought together Devine and Ghosh. The duo took the chase deep and Ghosh nearly did it for her team but for one run.

Richa GhoshRoyal Challengers Bangalore WomenDelhi Capitals WomenDC Women vs RCB WomenWomen’s Premier League

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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