Smriti Mandhana stunned and in tears after RCB reaches WPL 2024 final; MI skipper Harmanpreet Kaur battles her emotions | Cricket


Such is the brutality of sport. Two captains, who play for the same national team, displayed contrasting emotions at the end of a gripping T20 clash at New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium where Royal Challengers Bangalore beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by five points in the Eliminator to qualify for their first final. in the Women’s Premier League. Mandhana was left quite in disbelief and later in tears of happiness as she hugged her teammates at the end of the match, while Harmanpreet was seen fighting her emotions as she came out to shake hands with the players of the RCB and congratulate them for the victory.

RCB beat MI by 5 runs to reach WPL 2024 final

At one point, chasing 136, Mumbai Indians looked extremely comfortable with seven wickets in hand and a Harmanpreet at the crease alongside Amelia Kerr, who was just finding her rhythm after smashing two boundaries against Georgia Wareham. The MI skipper then hit two boundaries off Ellyse Perry as Mumbai headed into the final three overs with just 20 runs to go.

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However, RCB launched a late fightback with Shreyanka Patil in a brilliant 18th over, where she conceded just four singles and accounted for the wicket of Harmanpreet. Sophie Molineux, on the other hand, imitated the same in the 19th over, dismissing S Sanjana for just 1 to make the equation slightly tricky for the MI – 12 required in the last over.

With Mandhana having exhausted most of her main bowling options, she turned to Asha Sobhana for the final over. The leg-spinner conceded just four runs in the first three balls before foiling Pooja Vastrakar, who missed the looping leg break in the fourth over and was stumped.

With eight required off the last two balls, Amanjot Kaur managed just a single to put Kerr on strike. It was too much to ask of the New Zealand cricketer and Harmanpreet, watching helplessly from the dugout, knew it. Yet while Kerr cut a calm figure in the crease, compatriot Sophie Devine approached Mandhana to help her on the field.

On the final ball, the legbreak landed before the attack of Kerr, who came out of bounds for a high shot, but only got a thick outside edge as the ball bounced backwards. MI managed only a single and the defending champions were eliminated. RCB, its captain, its players all remained stunned following the jailbreak.

Mandhana let out tears of joy as she hugged her teammates and celebrated with them. Harmanpreet’s tears showed contrasting emotions after seeing her team come down from a winning position.

“What a game. That feeling still hasn’t sunk in. Halfway through we felt like we were 20 points short. But the way we played and fielded was unbelievable. 130 is a total where you don’t know whether to attack or defend, but Asha’s last over was unreal,” Mandhana said during the post-match presentation.

RCB will face Delhi Capitals in the WPL 2024 final at the same venue on Sunday.

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