This Mandhana bias and, by extension, the loyalty with RCB will be put to a stern test on Monday (March 6) when Brabourne will have to choose who they want to be the cheerleaders of. It’s Mandhana’s RCB vs Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai Indians, the home side.
Their bowlers collectively had an off day but the inexperience in RCB’s spin bowling department was exposed upfront with left-arm spinner Preeti Bose and the uncapped leggie Asha Shobhana leaking 64 in their six overs combined. Mandhana called upon the part-time offspin of Heather Knight, who also gave away 40 in her three overs albeit dismissing both Meg Lanning and Shafali Verma in the same over.
With their bowling taken apart, RCB did not just surrender with the bat in the staggering 224-run chase. Everyone on their overseas roster of the day with the exception of Sophie Devine, and Mandhana made at least 30 to go down fighting.
On the other hand, Harmanpreet’s Mumbai were clinical in their 143-run mauling of a beleaguered Gujarat Giants. Stacked with all-rounders of all variety, MI worked like a well-oiled machine under the leadership of India’s most successful T20I captain, despite being assembled only in the last week. Their all-round performance has already established them as early favourites even though the competition is barely three games old.
Mumbai and Bangalore are traditional rivals and two of the biggest draws in the men’s IPL. Another interesting narrative to that rivalry was added at the auction table itself last month. Now for the on-field battles to begin.
When: March 6, Monday, at 7:30 PM IST.. Hu
Where: Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.
Mumbai Indians Probable XI: Yastika Bhatia (wk), Hayley Matthews, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Amanjot Kaur, Pooja Vastrakar, Humaira Kazi, Issy Wong, Jintimani Kalita, Saika Ishaque.
RCB Probable XI: Smriti Mandhana (C), Sophie Devine, Heather Knight, Disha Kasat, Ellyse Perry, Richa Ghosh (wk), Kanika Ahuja, Asha Shobana, Preeti Bose, Megan Schutt, Renuka Thakur