Mumbai, March 21 (IANS) Mumbai Indians (MI) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by four wickets in Match 19 of the Women's Premier League (WPL) on Tuesday at the D.Y Patil Stadium here to take the top spot.
With the win, Mumbai hold the provisional top spot and will have to wait for the result of the match between Delhi Capitals and UP Warriorz to ensure their direct qualification to the final.
Amelia Kerr mixed guile, flight, and turn to pick up three wickets (3-22) as a disciplined bowling effort from the MI bowlers restricted RCB to 125/9 in 20 overs. Yastika Bhatia then provided a good platform with a 26-ball 30 before Kerr's calculated knock of 31 not out off 27 balls helped MI seal the chase after a slight stutter in the middle.
Chasing 126, MI survived a scare first up as Hayley Matthews was adjudged LBW off the first ball of the innings but she reviewed and the replay showed it was missing leg.
Matthews then looked to take the aggressive route and rode her luck as she hit a six and four off Devine and was then caught behind but Devine had overstepped and it was called a no-ball.
Yastika then found her range as she went on a four-hitting spree. She struck a couple of fours off Shreyanka Patil and then took the attack to Ellyse Perry, hitting her for three fours in an over.
Shreyanka bounced back to remove the dangerous Yastika in the next over as she had her caught at mid-on for 30 (26).
RCB then built a bit of pressure and scalped two quick wickets as Megan Schutt dismissed Matthews while Sobhana Asha sent back Nat Sciver-Brunt.
Perry then got the big wicket as she had Harmanpreet Kaur drag one onto the stumps and MI were reduced to 73/4 in the 10th over.
Pooja Vastrakar then hit a couple of delightful cover drives off Shreyanka to release the pressure. The run rate was never a concern, it's just that MI needed to stem the wicket flow.
Vastrakar (19 off 18) and Amelia Kerr (31* off 27) got together, batted sensibly to mix caution with aggression and added 47 off 40 balls to take MI closer to a win.
Vastrakar and Issy Wong lost their wickets in quick succession but Kerr made sure she closed the match as MI won by four wickets.
Earlier, MI captain Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and elected to bowl. Both teams went unchanged.
Mumbai got off to a good start as they claimed the big wicket of Sophie Devine in the first over. Devine, who had hit a whirlwind 36-ball 99 in the last match, was involved in a mix-up while going for a single with Smriti Mandhana and was run out for a duck off the third ball of the innings.
Mandhana got the first four of the innings in the third over as she cracked one through point off Wong. The RCB skipper then walked down the track to Sciver-Brunt in the fifth over and smashed it over deep mid-wicket for the first six of the innings.
MI bowled with discipline in the powerplay, bowled tight lines and conceded just four fours and a six as RCB reached 32/1 at the end of the powerplay.
The pressure was building and it paid off as Smriti looked to pull one off Kerr but ended up getting a top edge to hand the keeper a simple catch.
There was a phase during which MI didn't concede a boundary for 14 balls. Perry then broke the shackles as she hit consecutive fours off Saika Ishaque as RCB reached 56/2 at the halfway mark.
Heather Knight (12 off 13) struggled a bit to get going and as soon as she looked to up the ante, she perished. She looked to hit Kerr down the ground but mistimed it straight to Wong at long-on.
MI kept a tight leash on the RCB batting as the next three overs brought just one four and it brought rewards again as Kanika Ahuja went for a big one off Kerr and missed it completely to get stumped for 12 (13).
Richa Ghosh arrived and took the aggressive route straightaway as she hit a four and a six off Wong in the 16th over. RCB, however, kept losing wickets as Sciver-Brunt came back to trap Perry 29(38) LBW and then cleaned up Shreyanka with a terrific yorker in the same over.
Ghosh tried her best with a 13-ball 29-run cameo but RCB were restricted to 125/9.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 125/9 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 29, Richa Ghosh 29; Amelia Kerr 3-22, Nat Sciver-Brunt 2-24, Issy Wong 2-26) lost to Mumbai Indians 129/6 in 16.3 overs (Amelia Kerr 31 not out, Yastika Bhatia 30; Kanika Ahuja 2-5) by four wickets.
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