Sobhana Asha 1st Indian to take fifer in WPL as RCB clinch thrilling win vs UPW | Cricket - Hindustan Times

Sobhana Asha first Indian to take fifer in WPL as RCB clinch thrilling win over UP Warriorz

Feb 24, 2024 11:54 PM IST

Asha became the first Indian to pick a five-wicket haul in WPL as RCB beat UP Warriorz by 2 runs

For IPL's eager Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) fans, franchise cricket came a month early to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in the form of Women’s Premier League (WPL) action with Smriti Mandhana-led home team recording a fine two-run win over UP Warriorz on Saturday.

RCB Women's Sobhana Asha in action during the match against UP Warriors in the Women's Premier League (WPL) 2024, (WPL-X)
RCB Women's Sobhana Asha in action during the match against UP Warriors in the Women's Premier League (WPL) 2024, (WPL-X)

Just like the league's opening tie between Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians that had a last-ball finish, the RCB and Warriorz game generated ample thrill. Needing five runs of the last ball of the match and facing left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux, Warriorz left-handed batter Deepti Sharma failed to recreate the effort the Mumbai Indians' Sajana Sajeevan from the day before.

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Needing 158 to win, Warriorz floundered as RCB bowlers gripped the opposition with clinical bowling. Full marks to the 32-year-old leg-break bowler Sobhana Asha who rattled the Warriorz batting line-up with three wickets in the 17th over. In the process, Asha also became the the first Indian cricketer to take a fifer in the league. Shweta Sehrawat and Grace Harris were going fine when Asha brought RCB back in the game, scalping three wickets in her fourth over .

Asha was backed by the fellow spinners Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux. However, off-spinner Shreyanka Patil had a dismal outing as she gave away 32 runs in her three overs. Patil leaked 14 runs in the 18th over of the chase as Warriorz came roaring back in the game, but RCB had the last laugh.

For Warriorz, once captain Alyssa Healy (5) and Tahila McGrath (22) were back in the dugout, it was left to Harris to take her team over the line. Negating the RCB bowlers nicely and accelerating the the score with Sehrawat, Harris went about her business calmly before Asha sent back both the batters in the same over.

Kiran Navgire and Poonam Khemnar could not do much and Warriorz perhaps erred in sending Sophie Ecclestone too far down the order.

Expressing her delight after the game, an emotional Asha said, "Grace was going against the turn and I knew if I pulled the length back and slowed it up, she might get a top edge or get bowled. I was ready to get smashed but I was sure I would get her (out)."

Earlier, RCB innings was bolstered by Sabbhineni Meghana (53 off 44) and Richa Ghosh (62 off 37). Mandhana (13) and Sophie Devine (1) flopped and it was the Meghana and Ghosh who did the bulk of scoring.

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    Shalini Gupta is a member of the Chandigarh sports team and has been a sports journalist for 10 years. She mainly writes on cricket.

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