“Only Thing I Want To Say”: Smriti Mandhana Sums Up RCB’s WPL Triumph

Following her side’s maiden Women’s Premier League (WPL) title win, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Smriti Mandhana said a poor performance in the inaugural season taught her and the team a lot, as she thanked the team management and fans for continuously backing and supporting her. An all-round Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) led by yet another solid knock by Ellyse Perry and brilliant bowling spells from spinners Shreyanka Patil and Sophie Molineux captured their first-ever Women’s Premier League (WPL) title after defeating Delhi Capitals by eight wickets in the title clash at Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday. This win comes after a second-last-place finish in the inaugural edition, in which they won just two matches out of eight.

After the title win, Smriti said that the feeling of winning the title has not sunk in yet and she cannot find the right way to express it.

“The feeling has not sunk in yet, maybe it will take time. Hard for me to come out with a lot of expression. Only thing I want to say is I am proud of the bunch. We have been through ups and downs but they have stuck at it, and the way we have gotten past the line (tonight), it was amazing,” said Smriti.

The skipper said that the team had a fine Bengaluru leg but faced two tough losses in Delhi. The important thing however was to peak at the right time, she added.

“The last league match was like a quarter, then the semi and then the final. In such tournaments, you have to peak at the right time. Last year taught us a lot of things, as a player, as a captain and as a team. The management, the way they backed me during the review after the season…they have been through a lot and a big thumbs up (to them). For them to have this trophy, it is amazing for them. I am not the only one who has won the trophy, the team has won. For RCB as a franchise to win, it is really, really special,” said Smriti.

“This win is definitely one of the top five maybe. A World Cup (win) would top it. I have a message for all the RCB fans, the most loyal fan base. Nothing would have been possible without their support. Ee Sala Cup Namde (roughly translating to ‘this year cup will be ours’) always comes up, and now I just want to say Ee Sala Cup Namdu (roughly translating to this year the cup is ours),” concluded Smriti.

Following the title win, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that decades-long dream of RCB fans was fulfilled and expressed hope that the men’s RCB team will lift the Indian Premier League title.

“n today’s #TATAWPL final match, RCB beat Delhi team to clinch the championship. The performance of our girls is commendable as they put up a concerted performance throughout the tournament. Being a cricket lover, I am very happy with this win. A decades-long dream of RCB fans has come true today. My wish is that our boys will win the cup in IPL as well. This time the cup is down …… @RCBTweets #PlayBold #RCBvDC #TATAWPLFinal,” tweeted the CM.

DC won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Shafali Varma (44 in 27 balls, with two fours and three sixes) and skipper Meg Lanning (23 in 23 balls, with three fours) started off really well for the team with a quickfire 64-run opening stand.

However, Shreyanka Patil (4/12), Sophie Molineux (3/20) and Asha Sobhana (2/14) helped RCB bounce back just after the powerplay and removed Delhi batters one-by-one, triggering an unfathomable batting collapse. DC was all out for 113 in 18.3 overs.

In the chase of 114, RCB put on a 49-run opening stand, powered by Sophie Devine (32 in 27 balls, with five fours and a six). However, RCB was tested by Delhi bowlers in middle overs and skipper Smriti Mandhana (31 in 39 balls, with three fours) departed at a crucial juncture to leave RCB at 82/2 in 15 overs. However, Ellyse Perry (35* in 37 balls, with four boundaries) and Richa Ghosh (17* in 14 balls, with two fours) finished the chase with three balls left.

Minnu Mani and Shikha Pandey took a wicket each for DC.

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