Mumbai, March 8 (IANS) Fantastic fifties from Harleen Deol and Sophia Dunkley propelled Gujarat Giants to a commanding 201/7 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the WPL 2023 match at the Brabourne Stadium, here on Wednesday.
Sophia set the tone for Gujarat’s big total through a breath-taking 65 off 28 balls, including slamming fastest fifty of the tournament in 18 balls. In her blazing knock, she slammed 11 fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 232.14.
Once she fell, Harleen shined to ensure Gujarat didn’t lose momentum. From being 18 off 17 at one point, she impressed everyone with her timing and placement to score 67 off 45 balls, hitting nine fours and a six at a strike-rate of 148.89.
For the third consecutive time in the competition, Bangalore’s bowling was taken apart, barring Shreyanka Patil and Heather Knight taking four wickets while conceding 49 runs off six overs between them. Their fielding and catching wasn’t up to the mark too.
After playing eight consecutive dot balls, including a maiden in the opening over, Sophia got Gujarat off the mark with nice scoop over fine leg off Ellyse Perry. She then went after Megan Schutt in the next over, hitting two boundaries over point and backward point.
Despite Megan taking out Sabbhineni Meghana in the third over, there was no stopping Sophia. She chipped and clipped off Renuka Singh Thakur for two boundaries, but the pick of the shots was a well-timed inside-out lofted six over extra cover.
Sophia went on to make full use of anything coming in the slot from Preeti Bose, smashing three fours and six, to reach her fifty in 18 balls and take 23 runs off the fifth over. The carnage continued as Sophia pulled off Ellyse for four, before slog-sweeping and whipping off Shreyanka Patil for six and four respectively.
Her knock came to an end when Shreyanka, coming from over the wicket, got the right-handed batter to mistime a loft to long-off. Harleen took over by getting some exquisite timing on her punch, sweep, pull and pick-up shots.
Bangalore continued to take wickets as Heather Knight foxed Ashleigh Gardner with a straighter delivery and was stumped easily from behind by Richa Ghosh. Dayalan Hemalatha timed her two fours and six very well, before slicing to short third man to become Heather’s second scalp of the match.
But there was no stopping for Harleen as she brought up her fifty in 35 balls with a pull over short fine leg off Ellyse. She feasted on short balls from Ellyse, pulling and slapping well to collect back-to-back boundaries.
She even got a life when Preeti Bose dropped her catch in the 17th over. But ran out of support from the other end as Annabel Sutherland holed out to long-off while Sneh Rana was run-out in the 19th over.
Harleen was finally out in the final over when a full and fast ball from Shreyanka crashed into the stumps. A boundary down the ground from Sushma Verma on her first ball took Gujarat over 200.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Giants 201/7 in 20 overs (Harleen Deol 67, Sophia Dunkley 65; Heather Knight 2/17, Shreyanka Patil 2/32) against Royal Challengers Bangalore