Recent Match Report – RCB Women vs MI Women 4th Match 2022/23

Recent Match Report - RCB Women vs MI Women 4th Match 2022/23

Mumbai Indians 159 for 1 (Matthews 77*, Sciver-Brunt 55*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 155 (Ghosh 28, Matthews 3-28, Ishaque 2-26) by 9 wickets

West Indies’ Hayley Matthews was unsold in the first round of the WPL auction, which was held just at the start of the Women’s T20 World Cup, before Mumbai Indians picked her up in the accelerated round. Surprising as it was, you could attach a logic to it.

Matthews was leading a West Indies side that struggled to shrug off their run of losses. They had lost 15 straight T20Is, including one via the Super Over before the win against Pakistan in their last T20 World Cup game. In a bid to revive West Indies’ faltering batting line-up, she also tried moving down the order from her preferred opening spot before coming up to the top again.

With a stellar all-round show at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, Matthews gave everybody, not least the noisy stand next to the sightscreen at the commentators’ box end, a polite reminder of the brilliance she can conjure up. One that continues to give West Indies hope as they look to rise from a lowish phase.

“We were weighing up our options and thought we didn’t have enough money, but we certainly did [eventually],” Mumbai head coach Charlotte Edwards told the host broadcasters as Matthews was helping them coast against Royal Challengers Bangalore. “This tournament, like franchise cricket, is really good for Hayley and it’s good to see her do that in the last couple of days. [During the strategic break] I told her these are the days you need to cash in and on such grounds.”

Royal Challengers were done in almost single-handedly by Matthews. After an 11-run opening over, in which Smriti Mandhana and Sophie Devine hit a four and a six respectively, she came back in the last over of the powerplay to dismiss Mandhana. She tossed one up outside off, enticing Mandhana to give her the charge before the dip and turn meant that the batter sliced it to point. On the very next ball, she slipped in a full one that went under Heather Knight’s flick to dismiss her for a first-ball duck.

Matthews had helped Mumbai win the first bit of the arm-wrestle against Royal Challangers.

With the help of two young guns Richa Ghosh and Kanika Ahuja, Royal Challengers managed to move past 100 inside 12 overs from 71 for 5. Ghosh was happy to punish the bad balls while Ahuja took the attack onto the seamers. An over after Pooja Vastrakar got rid of Ahuja, Matthews was summoned again and she duly delivered by having Ghosh slog one straight to deep midwicket. Only a brilliant counterattack from Karnataka’s Shreyanka Patil helped Royal Challengers cross 150 to have some hopes.

Matthews dashed any semblance of those hopes. She used the width provided by Renuka Singh to steer one past point in the opening over before flicking one through square leg in the third. She then heaved left-arm spinner Preeti Bose over deep square leg before going back to a half-tracker and punching it over covers.

Megan Schutt, who earlier scored a 14-ball 20, was next in Matthews’ firing line. Matthews first punched one through the covers before timing the straight drive past the bowler as Mumbai cruised to 54 for 1 at the end of the powerplay, with Bose trapping Bhatia for the only wicket in the phase.

Even after the fielding restrictions were lifted, Matthews hit Renuka for two fours in an over and eventually brought up her half-century – after narrowly missing out in the opening encounter – off just 26 balls with Mumbai on 95 for 1 at the ten-over mark. Nat Sciver-Brunt’s canter was reduced to a postscript.

Thereon, Mumbai knocked off the remaining 61 runs in 26 balls to register a second thumping win. Matthews was walking back with a huge smile and an unbeaten 77 off just 38 balls with Nat contributing 55 not out off 29.

After those exploits, only two words explain Matthews finding no picks in the first round of the WPL auction – “auction dynamics”.

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