The prowess of Shafali Verma’s strokes and the experience of Meg Lanning combined with a sensational opening wicket partnership of 162 runs to guide Delhi Capitals to a resounding 60-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match of the Women’s Premier League, here on Sunday.
American left-arm pacer Tara Norris then came to the party, taking a fifty for DC to finish off the Smriti Mandhana-led side.
A day after her Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur led Mumbai Indians to 207/5 in the tournament’s opening match, the 19-year-old Shafali took just 45 balls (10×4, 10×4, 4×6).
Five-time World Cup-winning Australian skipper Lanning was also at his attacking best with a 43-ball 72 (14×4) as the duo dismantled a weak RCB attack to take the WPL score to 223/2.
In reply, RCB made a promising start but USA left-arm pacer Tara Norris (4-0-29-5) and Elise Capse (2-0-10-2) took them to 163 for eight in stipulated time. pulled up to 20 overs.
Norris, who became the first Associate player in the WPL, sent back half of her batsmen through the star-studded RCB middle-order to pick up the wickets of Ellyse Perry (31), Richa Ghosh (2) and Heather Knight (34). 93 runs in 12.2 overs from the hut.
She bowled with pace and got her maiden WPL fifty with the scalp of Kanika Ahuja.
India’s vice-captain and WPL’s costliest player Smriti Mandhana and Sophie Devine fired on all cylinders. At the four-over mark, they were 41 for no loss, well ahead of DC’s 29/0 at the same stage.
But English off-spinner Capsy triggered a stunning collapse, dismissing both in successive overs. He accounted for 14 (11b; 3×4) for the Kiwi batsman on debut when Shafali took a superb diving catch. Mandhana then gifted her wicket to Shikha Pandey.
The defeat reminded of RCB’s 140-run defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in the inaugural edition in 2008, when they were bundled out for 82 in reply to KKR’s 222/3.
Earlier, DC got off to a dream start with Shafali and Lanning minting runs. Heather Knight gave RCB something to cheer about in the 15th over when the England skipper dismissed both of them with her off-spin.
Knight cleaned up her Australian counterpart with a fuller delivery, and just one delivery later, Shafali edged Richa Ghosh with a fine delivery and completed a brilliant catch to seal the double blow.
But, it was too little too late for the RCB camp as the DC duo’s stupendous opening partnership of 162 off 87 balls set the tone for a 200-plus score. It was then left to Marijan Kapp and Jemimah Rodrigues for the final flourish, adding 59 runs in the back end.
Fresh from his T20 World Cup exploits, the South African batsman hit three sixes and three fours in his 17-ball 39 not out, while Jemimah made a fine 15-ball 22 (3×4).
A compact-looking Shafali never made a wrong move, and picked up loose balls well to bring up her 31-ball fifty with a single off Megan Schutt.
In the next over, the inimitable Australian skipper Lanning brought up her half-century off 30 balls, hitting Heather Knight at fine leg.
After starting with 12 fours in the powerplay, Delhi reached the 100-run mark at the halfway mark as the duo showed good pace in the middle overs.
While the batting of the pair was excellent, Lanning and Shafali had fun against some clumsy bowling from the RCB bowlers.
In her WPL captaincy debut, Smriti Mandhana used seven bowlers after making the bold move of bowling at batting-friendly Brabourne.