Match Preview – RCB Women vs MI Women, Women’s Premier League 2022/23, 4th Match

Match Preview - RCB Women vs MI Women, Women's Premier League 2022/23, 4th Match

Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (or Harmanpreet Kaur vs Smriti Mandhana)

After locking in Smriti Mandhana in the WPL auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore also bid for India captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who eventually went to Mumbai Indians.

At a press conference, Mandhana was asked about face-offs with Harmanpreet, and she said, “We haven’t played a lot of domestic cricket in the last four-five years and so didn’t get opportunities to share our experiences with the domestic players. We have played the overseas leagues and know how the setup benefits. So I am sure I can help the RCB girls and she can help the MI girls.”

And so, the seeds of some friendly WPL fire were sowed – Harmanpreet versus Mandhana.

Royal Challengers are coming off a hammering against Delhi Capitals. Barring quick bowler Renuka Singh and left-arm spinner Preeti Bose, the other Royal Challengers bowlers had economy rates in excess of nine. Do they shuffle things up after one loss? Dane van Niekerk was on the bench and is eager to return to action. Although getting her to replace one of the four overseas players in the XI after just one outing might be rough. If at all, it could be Sophie Devine making way, which would then allow opening batter Disha Kasat to go up to her preferred spot at the top.
Harmanpreet’s side, meanwhile, lit up the opening day of the WPL and showed what a side filled with allrounders could do. They were loaded with batting firepower till at least No. 9 and were not needed to tap into the full complement of their resources. It also allowed Harmanpreet to go through the bowling options at her disposal and she used seven out of the ten that could bowl on the day.

A tough assignment then for Royal Challengers, as they look to turn around their campaign.

Disha Kasat batted at No. 4 in the opening game for Royal Challengers, but scored all of her chart-topping 300 runs at the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy at the top of the order at a strike rate of 114.50. Richa Ghosh had a quiet start to the competition but she showed what she could do at the smallish Brabourne Stadium against Australia late last year.

Having her batting services largely under-utilised for India, Pooja Vastrakar came in at No. 6 and showed her wares with an eight-ball 15. She could have a larger role to play for Mumbai Indians given she is one of the experienced players in the set-up. And don’t be surprised if allrounder Jintimani Kalita is given more to do in her second outing as teams can afford to try the domestic players before the actual crunch games kick in. Kalita impressed with her athletic efforts and caught Harmanpreet’s eye at Mumbai Indians’ two intra-squad warm-up games.

Mumbai Indians (possible): 1 Yastika Bhatia (wk), 2 Hayley Matthews, 3 Nat Sciver-Brunt, 4 Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), 5 Amelia Kerr, 6 Humaira Kazi, 7 Pooja Vastrakar, 8 Issy Wong, 9 Amanjot Kaur, 10 Jintimani Kalita, 11 Saika Ishaque
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible): 1 Smriti Mandhana (capt), 2 Disha Kasat, 3 Ellyse Perry, 4 Sophie Devine/Dane van Niekerk, 5 Richa Ghosh (wk), 6 Heather Knight, 7 Kanika Ahuja/Shreyanka Patil, 8 Asha Sobhana, 9 Megan Schutt, 10 Renuka Singh, 11 Preeti Bose

“When I am in my zone, I am clear in the areas I have to pick, and it becomes easy for me. I need to just watch the ball and react instead of thinking about too many shots.”
Mumbai Indians captain Harmanpreet Kaur on her batting approach

“Obviously it [Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers] is a huge rivalry in the men’s game. They have set a brilliant win in their first game; they are a dangerous side.”
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Heather Knight is excited about the contest

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