WPL: Shafali, Lanning and Norris shine as DC beat RCB
Mumbai/UNI: Dazzling knocks by Shafali Verma and captain Meg Lanning along with American pacer Tara Norris five-fer helped Delhi Capitals to register a comprehensive victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their opening match of the Tata WPL at Brabourne Stadium here on Sunday.
A brilliant 84 by Shafali and 72 by Lanning helped DC post a massive 223/2 in 20 overs. The duo got DC off to a solid start, putting on 162 runs for the first wicket.
They went berserk in the second over off Megan Schutt as they cracked three boundaries in the over after Shafali looked edgy in the first over of the match bowled by pacer Renuka Thakur.
Shafali hammered the first boundary for DC by walking down the track and lofting one to wide long-on. Lanning too got her first boundary as she pulled one behind square leg and then cut one to third man for consecutive fours as the duo took 14 runs in the over.
Shafali greeted spinner Preeti Bose with a six by lofting the first ball effortlessly over long off. Bose, however, bounced back to give away just one run off the next five balls.
Shafali and Lanning then took the attack to Sophie Devine as the pair hit two boundaries each to accumulate 20 runs off the over and bring up the 50-run stand as DC reached 57/0 in the Powerplay.
The duo continued their juggernaut as they unfurled powerful lofts against spinner Sobhana Asha to hit two sixes and two fours to garner 22 off the over.
Shafali then brought up her fifty off just 31 balls and DC's 100 with a single down to long on in the 10th over. Lanning too soon brought up her half-century, off 30 balls, with four off Heather Knight.
The pair continued to deal in boundaries as they hit 48 off the next four overs, including seven 4s and a six to bring up the 150 in the 14th over.
Knight finally provided RCB some relief as she sent back both the openers in the 15th over, breaking the 162-run opening stand. Lanning was cleaned up for 72 (43) while Shafali was caught behind for 84 (45).
The relief though lasted for a very short time as Marizanne Kapp (39* off 17) and Jemimah Rodrigues (22* off 15) took over from where Shafali and Lanning left off and smashed 60 runs off just 31 balls to power DC to 223/2 from 20 overs.
Chasing a mammoth target, RCB captain Smriti Mandhana got into the groove quickly, lofting Marizanne Kapp for a couple of fours and a six in the second over. Sophie Devine joined the party in the next over as she creamed three fours through the off side off Shikha Pandey.
However, against the run of play Alice Capsey struck off just her second ball as she had Devine brilliantly caught by Shafali at mid off. In her next over, Capsey provided double delight as she had Mandhana caught at short fine leg.
Ellyse Perry though kept the scoreboard ticking with her placement and precision hitting three consecutive fours off Disha Kasat.
Just when it looked like things were picking up for RCB, Lanning's another bowling change worked wonders as Tara Norris picked up four wickets in two overs to turn things around. She removed the dangerous looking Perry (31 off 19) and Disha Kasat in the 11th over and then Richa Ghosh and Kanika Ahuja off consecutive balls in her next over.
Heather Knight and Megan Schutt then led RCB's fightback with a 28-ball 54 run stand. The required run-rate kept creeping up. And it was meant to be Norris' day as she came back to break the partnership and pick the first five-for of the WPL as she sent back Knight for 34.
In the end RCB fell well short, by 60 runs, and DC achieved a comprehensive victory.