RCBW vs UPW WPL 2023: Kanika Ahuja powered the Royal Challengers Bangalore to their first win of the tournament as the Bangalore side defeated the UP Warriorz by 5 wickets. Smriti Mandhana‘s side finally got off to mark with a win at the DY Patil Sports Academy and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Bangalore faced the Warriorz in a do-or-die match in Navi Mumbai. They took full fruits out of the conditions with the ball first as medium pacers took big wickets inside the powerplay. Grace Harris and Deepti Sharma staged the revival act for the Warriorz with a 69-run stand but once it was broken, Warriorz struggled to post a big total. In the chase, Bangalore were hit with blows as Devine and Mandhana walked back cheaply but Heather Knight, Kanika Ahuja and Richa Ghosh took them over the line.
Smriti Mandhana won the toss and opted to bowl first on the DY Patil pitch that has started to offer help to the bowlers as well. It was eveident. They got off to a great start as medium pacer Sophie Devine removed both the openers- Devika Vaidya and Alyssa Healy in the first over. Pacer Megan Schutt then bowled lured fellow Aussie star Tahlia McGrath into a push on a good length ball that was edged and Richa Ghosh grabbed that. Spinner Asha Shobana joined the party with a twin scalp of Kiran Navgire and Simran Shaikh, bringing Warriorz down to 31/5 in 8.1 overs.
However, Grace Harris was not done yet. She partnered with Deepti Sharma to bring a 69-run stand in 42 balls to stage a revival act. Warriorz were getting set for an over-par total but then came Ellyse Perry. She first removed Deepti Sharma on a full toss on her pads to be caught at deep mid-wicket before finding the prized scalp of Grace Harris with a ball angling in as she poked at it to get caught by Ghosh. Ecclestone then managed to get Warriorz to 135.
Bangalore did not get off to a great start either. Sophie Devine did score some boundaries off the first few balls, but was removed by Harris in the first over. Mandhana’s struggle continued as she managed a naught, falling to Deepti. As Perry was outdone by Vaidya when Bangalore was at 43 in 6.1, it looked they might yet again fall short. But Heather Knight inspired a fightback, scoring round the park, before getting out on 24, when team was at 60. The inexperienced Kanika Ahuja and Indian capped Richa Ghosh then took over and kept the scoring board ticking along with keeping wickets in hand. They held their nerves as Kanika played a crucial hand of 46 off 30 balls. Bangalore brought it down to run-a-ball, with 48 needed off 48 and the duo kept piling runs and taking RCB close. Ecclestone came and got the wicket of Ahuja but the damage was done as Shreyanka and Ghosh finished it off with 2 overs to spare.