“Losing 3 wickets in that over made huge difference” – Lisa Sthalekar on UPW’s loss against RCB

In the second game of the ongoing 02 edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), the UP Warriorz faced off against Royal Challengers Banglore with great anticipation.

UP Warriorz
UP Warriorz

Alyssa Healy’s decision to field first proved fruitful as the Royal Challengers Bangalore struggled early on losing key wickets including that of skipper Smriti Mandhana. Despite, Richa Ghosh and Sabbhineni Meghana’s resilient partnership along with both scoring a half centuries, RCB posted 157/6 on the scoreboard.

In response, UP Warriorz faced early setbacks but fought back with Grace Harris and Shweta Sehrawat anchoring the innings. However, Sobhana Asha’s exceptional bowling performance, securing a five-wicket haul led the Challengers to victory. It was another last bowl showdown match as UP Warriorz fell just short by 2 runs ending at 155/7.

Post-match, the UP Warriorz Mentor, Lisa Sthalekar, and Sabbhineni Meghana, Batter, Royal Challengers Bangalore addressed a press conference at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

Sabbhineni Meghana, the half-centurion for the Challengers played a crucial role in helping her team reach a total of 157 after the early loss of three major wickets of Sophie Devine, Smriti Mandhana, and Ellyse Perry. Rebuilding, Meghana persisted in forming a pivotal 67-run partnership with wicket-keeper batter Richa Ghosh. Meghana’s resilient knock comprising 53 runs off 44 balls not only marked her first half-century in the WPL but also played a crucial role in stabilizing RCB’s innings and guiding them to a competitive total.

She mentioned the support she got from the Royals fans, playing at the home ground, boosted her confidence and lowered her fears. She started, “It (the fans’ support) really got me pumped up. I don’t know, like I was in a completely different zone. There’s nothing I could hear.”

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Meghana further quoted on the magical spell by Sobhana Asha, who played a major role in the second innings which helped stop the UP Warriorz from chasing the target of 158 runs. Asha’s brilliant spell claiming five wickets shifted the game in RCB’s favor. She broke the 38-run partnership of Tahlia McGrath and Vrinda Dinesh in the 9th over, claiming both the wickets. Later in the seventeenth over, she magnificently struck thrice and sent both the set batter, Shweta Sehrawat, and Grace Harris along with Kiran Navgire, becoming the first India to register a WPL five-fer.

Meghana appreciated Asha’s spell and highlighted her fifteen-year friendship and her trust in Asha. She mentioned, “I have known Asha for the last 15 years. She has been such a great bowler. I think it’s a great platform for her to show her potential and she’s doing it brilliantly. So
she’s always been a matchwinner. We play for South Central Railway team as well, so, yeah, even there she used to be like, she’s a really good match winner for us and, yeah, I think she’s just doing what she’s used to do.”

The UP Warriorz Mentor, Lisa Sthalekar underlines the crucial partnership built during their innings. In a pivotal moment of the match, the UP Warriorz found themselves at 49/3. However, Shweta Sehrawat teamed up with Grace Harris at the crease, their partnership proved contributory as they steadied the innings, accumulating a vital 77-run partnership before Sobhana Asha returned in the 17th over after the strategic timeout with a display of remarkable bowling prowess.

Also Read:  Who is Shweta Sehrawat | Bio | Stats | UP Warriorz Player

Quoting, Lisa, “I think, both Shweta and Grace Harris were flying, and that stop in the play allowed RCB to get back in the game, and losing those three wickets in that over, it makes a huge difference, especially the fact that it was Shewta and Grace, our two set batters. So I believe that was the turning point.”

The exceptional fielding effort was seen on the field by the UP Warriorz, as mentioned by Lisa. She acknowledged the efforts of Vrinda Dinesh who emerged as a standout performer in the field, showcasing exceptional fielding prowess, and stopping many boundaries during the match. The team also executed three impressive catch dismissals out of the six wickets which highlights the agility, sharp reflexes, and strategic positioning of the the UPW players.

The fielding masterclass played a significant role in UP Warriorz’s defensive strategy ultimately, contributing to their competitive performance in the match. She stated, “I was really impressed with our fielding effort. I felt that last year we probably leaked too many runs, whereas, the first game they were pretty sharp.”

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