Mumbai, March 18 (IANS) Laura Wolvaardt hammered a brilliant 68 off 42 deliveries and shared two half-century partnerships with Sabbhineni Meghana (31 off 32) and Ashleigh Gardner (41 pff 26) to help Gujarat Giants post a challenging 188/4 off 20 overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Match 15 of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) here on Saturday.
Wolvaardt blasted nine fours and two sixes and with help from the promoted Meghana and the experienced Gardner helped Gujarat Giants to a good score in this crucial match after skipper Sneha Rana won the toss and elected to bat first at the Brabourne Stadium here.
RCB skipper Smriti Mandhana brought off-break bowler Shreyanka Patil (2-17) rather late, only in the 17th over and she applied breaks on the galloping Gujarat Giants by sending back Wolvaardt and Gardner.
Dayalan Hemalatha (16 not out off 6) and Harleen Deol (12 off 5) blasted 22 runs off the last over bowled by Megan Schutt to help Gujarat reach a defendable total.
Earlier, Gujarat Giants lost Sophia Dunkley (16) early with the score reading 27 when she shuffled away to attempt to hit a second successive boundary off Sophie Devine but completely missed the length ball to see her leg stump brought down. She struck 16 off 10 balls, hitting three fours.
Sabbhineni Meghana and Laura Wolvaardt then raised 63 runs for the second-wicket partnership for Gujarat, who made a modest 45/1 in the Power-play. Meghana struck four boundaries in her 32-ball 31 as Gujarat built themselves for a defendable total in this crucial match. Meghana started slowly but struck her first boundary off Preeti Bose in the 8th over, driving inside out through covers and then slogged Heather Knight flat along the ground through wide mid-wicket for another boundary in the 10th over, as they raced to 50 off 43 balls.
Meghana got a life when Devine spilt a sitter off Preeti Bose in the 11th over and Meghana rubbed salt into the wounds by hitting a four d ball later. However, Preeti Bose had the last laugh as she enticed her out with one that spun away and keeper Ghosh effected a simple stumping.
Wolvaardt, who had struck a four off the second ball she faced off Meghan Schutt, continued to reap the rewards for her patience as she struck Schutt for two more fours and meting out the same treatment to Devine. She raced to her half-century off 35 balls, reaching the milestone with a six over wide mid-wicket off Perry.
She survived a chance when bowler Asha reacted a bit slowly only to see it spill off her left fingertip and celebrated that by hitting Asha for a boundary off the next delivery. Her best was a six and a four off Schutt on successive deliveries in the 16th over as she and Ashleigh Gardner added 50 runs for the third wicket in 30 balls.
But just when it looked like they will take Gujarat Giants to a big score, Wolvaardt got out, caught by Preeti Bose off Shreyanka Patil, smashing a full toss straight to short midwicket.
Gardner too fell to Shreyanka Patil, who was brought in rather late but claimed two wickets for 17 runs off two overs — the 17th and 19th overs of the innings. Gardner struck a brilliant 26-ball 41, hitting six boundaries and a six.
Despite losing the two set batters, Dayalan Hemalatha (16 not out off 6) and Harleen Deol (12 off 5) struck a couple of big hits, surviving a couple of chances, including a DRS review in the process, as Gujarat reached a big score.
Gujarat Giants 188/4 in 20 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 68, Ashleigh Gardner 41, Sabbhineni Meghana 31; Shreyanka Patil2-17, Sophie Devine 1-23) v Royal Challengers Bangalore.