Mumbai Indians cruised to their second consecutive win in the Women’s Premier League on Monday with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who succumbed to their second defeat in as many days. Chasing 156, an all-round show from Hayley Matthews helped Mumbai Indians to consolidate their position at the top of the WPL points table. The West Indian picked up three wickets and completed a fine all-round show by scoring a 38-ball 77. Mumbai Indians, who won the first game by 143 runs against Gujarat Giants, now have four points from two matches with a net run rate (NRR) of 5.185.
Matthews yet again forged a defining partnership with England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt, with the two right-handed batters hammering the RCB bowlers all over the park to put on an unbeaten 114-run stand for the second wicket.
If Matthews produced an all-round show to help Mumbai Indians to their second win, the uncapped Saika Ishaque also impressed once again, grabbing two wickets and taking her tally in the tournament to six.
Nat Sciver-Brunt, who couldn’t get a good start in the opening game, made up for the disappointment on Monday by cracking an unbeaten 55 off 29 balls, studded with 10 fours and a six.
‘Player of the Match’ Matthews seemed to have picked up from where she had left off at the DY Patil Stadium the other night, playing her strokes with power, precision and command.
Matthews hammered 13 boundaries and a six in her 38-ball unbeaten 77, which came after she had returned superb bowling figures of 4-0-28-3.
She accounted for RCB skipper Smriti Mandhana, Heather Knight and Richa Ghosh.
Matthews might have taken her fourth wicket in her final over but Renuka Thakur thwacked the ball real hard for the bowler too take the return catch.
The only breakthrough for RCB came in the fifth over when Preeti Bose trapped Yastika Bhatia in front of the wickets for a well-made 23 off 19 balls.
The Mumbai wicketkeeper-batter, who looked out of sorts in the first match, broke the shackles with an unconventional shot that got her the first four of the innings, and she did well to help forge a 45-run first-wicket stand.
Sciver-Brunt took a liking for Shreyanka Patil in the eighth over, clobbering three boundaries to put Mumbai Indians in almost a run-a-ball situation from thereon. Sciver-Brunt and Matthews took on Patil once again, this time in the 13th over, with three fours and a six getting them 20 runs.
Earlier, RCB fought back with useful contributions from their lower order as they recovered from a batting collapse to reach 155 in 18.4 overs.
After a bright start provided by captain Smriti Mandhana (23 off 17 balls, 5 fours), RCB lost four wickets in eight balls to slip from 39/0 to 43/4 between the fourth and the fifth over.
The damage was caused by Saika Ishaque and Hayley Matthews, who along with New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr shared seven wickets between them.
But credit to RCB batters — Richa Ghosh (28), Kanika Ahuja (22), debutant Shreyanka Patil (23) and Megan Schutt (20) — who not only got some much-needed runs but also took the team’s total beyond 150, which looked difficult at one stage.
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