WPL: Bangalore register first win after Kanika Ahuja’s gritty knock

The wait is finally over for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as they got off the mark in the WPL with a convincing victory against the UP Warriorz. Kanika Ahuja and Richa Ghosh starred in a determined chase for Bangalore, registering their first win of the competition.

Chasing a modest total, RCB got off to a stuttering start after Sophie Devine departed in an eventful first over. Smriti Mandhana’s nightmare with the bat continued. She was dismissed for a three-ball duck by Deepti Sharma in the very next over.

Ellyse Perry and Heather Knight steadied the ship with a brief stand for the third wicket. But their departure in quick succession had the Bangalore-based franchise in all sorts. However, a new star took centre stage for RCB as 20-year-old Kanika Ahuja anchored the chase for her side with utter nonchalance.

The southpaw was complemented valiantly in the middle by another youngster, Richa Ghosh. Although Kanika fell just four short of a brilliant half-century. Richa steered the chase to perfection from the other end, guiding her side to their first victory of the tournament.

RCB bowlers restrict UP Warriorz to a below-par total

Earlier in the match, Smriti Mandhana won the toss and elected to field first on a sluggish surface. Her decision to open the bowling with veteran New Zealand all-rounder Sophie Devine proved to be a masterstroke as she removed both the UP Warriorz openers in the first over of the match.

The hard-hitting Tahlia McGrath didn’t last too long either after she was dismissed by compatriot Megan Schutt on the last delivery of the second over. The Warriorz’s innings was in tatters after Simran Shaikh departed in the ninth over. RCB were looking to restrict their opponents to a modest total but failed to cling onto their chances as both Grace Harris and Deepti Sharma were handed a reprieve each.

The missed opportunities did come to bite back Mandhana’s side as the duo stitched together an invaluable 69-run stand. However, veteran Aussie all-rounder Ellyse Perry, who was wicketless heading into the encounter, got two in one over as she got rid of both the set batters in the 16th over to dent UP’s hopes of a strong finish.