WPL 2023 : Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning, Tara Norris help Delhi Capitals start season with big 60-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore
Mumbai : A brilliant 162-run opening partnership off 87 balls between Shafali Verma and captain Meg Lanning followed by left-arm pacer Tara Norris becoming the first bowler to pick a five-fer in the inaugural Women’s Premier League propelled Delhi Capitals to a comprehensive 60-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.
While Shafali top-scored with 84 off 45 balls, including ten fours and two sixes, Meg was fantastic in her 72 off 43 balls, with 14 boundaries against her name. After the duo fell, Marizanne Kapp provided finishing fireworks with an unbeaten 39 off 17 balls, while Jemimah Rodrigues was not out on 22 off 15 balls for Delhi to post a massive 223/2.
In reply, Tara emerged as the chief architect of Bangalore’s collapse from 89/2 to 96/7. She ended up picking 5/29 in her four overs as Bangalore could make 163/8 in their 20 overs, giving Delhi their first victory of the competition.
Pushed into batting first, carnage from Shafali and Meg began in the second over when three boundaries were hit off Megan Schutt. Spin was introduced by Bangalore from fourth over, but it was no stopping Shafali as she welcomed Preeti Bose with a lofted six over long-off.
With every over till then producing a boundary, Meg and Shafali inflicted carnage on Sophie Devine in the sixth over, attacking the lengths outside off-stump to hit four boundaries as Delhi signed off from powerplay with 57/0.
Post power-play, there was no stopping Shafali’s aerial shots or Meg’s exquisite timing. In the ninth over from Asha Shobana, Shafali danced down the pitch twice to hit huge sixes over bowler’s head apart from a sweep yielding four, while Meg nudged one past mid-on to make it 22 off the over.
Shafali reached her half-century, off only 31 balls in the tenth over, raising her bat and also bringing up the 100-run stand of the opening partnership off just 58 balls.
In the next over, Meg also got her fifty with a sweep down leg off Heather Knight for a boundary. Shafali and Meg continued to play their shots, manoeuvre the gaps effortlessly as their partnership went past 150, with Bangalore looking rattled and their seven bowlers listless.
But they finally found breakthrough in the 15th over, when Heather had Meg clean bowled while trying to dance down the pitch. Two balls later, Shafali fell as she edged behind to Richa Ghosh.
Marizanne and Jemimah gave the perfect finish to Delhi by hitting six fours and three sixes in the last five overs as the crowd was treated to an amazing batting performance from Delhi.
Bangalore’s chase began with Smriti Mandhana taking two fours, including a sweetly-timed pick-up shot, and a six off Marizanne while Sophie took advantage of width coming from Shikha Pandey to hit three boundaries.
Smriti nailed the slog-sweep and then got an outside edge on an attempted slog to take back-to-back fours off Jess Jonassen in the fourth over. The opening stand was broken by Alice Capsey, when Sophie reached out to go over mid-of, but Shafali dived across to complete a stunning catch.
In her next over, Alice took out Smriti as her half-hearted shot was caught easily by short fine leg. Ellyse Perry and Disha Kasat tried injecting some momentum in the chase by hitting five fours, including the former taking a hat-trick of boundaries off Radha Yadav, in the tenth over.
But Tara’s introduction got the match firmly in Delhi’s favour. In her first over, she got Ellyse to chop on to her stumps. Two balls later, she got Disha to pull straight to deep backward square leg.
In her next over, Tara had Richa mistiming the loft to long-on and Kanika Ahuja slicing straight to short third man to be on the cusp of taking a hat-trick. Though she didn’t get the hat-trick, Delhi had another scalp when Asha top-edged to short fine leg off Shikha.
Heather and Megan slammed five fours and two sixes in the 54-run partnership off 28 balls for the eighth wicket. But Tara ended the stand by having Heather loft to extra cover to pick the first five-wicket haul of the tournament.
Megan ended the innings with back-to-back fours, but it wasn’t enough for them to stop Delhi from a thumping win.
Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 223/2 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 84, Meg Lanning 72; Heather Knight 2/40) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (Smriti Mandhana 35, Ellyse Perry 31; Tara Norris 5/29, Alice Capsey 2/10) by 60 runs
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