RCB and Giants target first win to keep hopes alive

RCB and Giants target first win to keep hopes alive

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Giants

Two games and two defeats. Bottom dwellers Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Giants are sailing on the same boat, with both teams desperate to get off the mark and keep their knockouts hope alive.

Just two matches into the inaugural edition, Royal Challengers are already being compared by fans with their men’s side in the IPL: strong on paper but have not fired collectively as a unit. Smriti Mandhana will be keen to change that perception and collect those two crucial points. In their previous game against Mumbai Indians, the captain stressed the importance of one of the top four batting deep to guide them to a competitive total, which has not happened so far. Their bowlers are still toiling for wickets. After two losses, allrounder Dane van Niekerk could replace Sophie Devine in their quest for first victory.
Meanwhile, Giants are still without their captain Beth Mooney, who suffered a knee injury in their opener against Mumbai Indians, and there is no official update if she would take the field on Wednesday. However, pacer Kim Garth, who has taken over Deandra Dottin’s place in the squad, has bolstered the bowling. With five of Giants’ six bowlers in the XI being capped internationals, they will rely heavily on their bowling to move out of the last spot on the table.

Players to watch

For Royal Challengers, Shreyanka Patil showed glimpses of potential in her confident 15-ball 23 against Mumbai. Though the spin-bowling allrounder went for runs with the ball, she could play a key role against Giants. Wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh hasn’t come to the party yet, and expect her to light up the stage after two dull innings.

Kim Garth returned with a five-for against UP Warriorz, with three of those coming in the powerplay. The Australian could once again be a top performer for Giants. D Hemalatha has also played two crucial knocks in two matches, lower down the order, and will be determined to carry that form into this match as well.

Playing XIs

Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible): 1 Smriti Mandhana (capt), 2 Sophie Devine/Dane van Niekerk, 3 Disha Kasat, 4 Ellyse Perry, 5 Heather Knight, 6 Richa Ghosh (wk), 7 Kanika Ahuja, 8 Shreyanka Patil, 9 Megan Schutt, 10 Renuka Singh, 11 Preeti Bose/Sahana Pawar

Gujarat Giants (possible): 1 Sophia Dunkley, 2 S Meghana, 3 Harleen Deol, 4 Ashleigh Gardner, 5 Sushma Verma (wk), 6 Dayalan Hemalatha, 7 Annabel Sutherland/Georgia Wareham, 8 Sneh Rana (capt), 9 Tanuja Kanwar, 10 Kim Garth, 11 Mansi Joshi


“As batters, we need to put up a good total on board. It’s a pretty short tournament, we can’t dwell on it. In franchise cricket, even after two losses, we can turn it around quickly.”
Smriti Mandhana after the team’s loss against Mumbai

“I enjoy being the leader. The responsibility comes on your shoulders. You have the time to show your leadership. The girls fought very hard. Whenever the team needs me, I will do my best.”
Giants’ stand-in captain Sneh Rana after their second game

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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