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Smriti Mandhana dumfounded and in tears after RCB make WPL 2024 final; MI skipper Harmanpreet Kaur fights back emotions

Smriti Mandhana was left quite in disbelief and later in tears of happiness as he embraced her teammates, while Harmanpreet Kaur fought back her emotions

Such is the brutality of sports. Two captains, who play for the same national side, displayed contrasting emotions at the end of a riveting T20 clash at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi where Royal Challengers Bangalore beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by five runs to make their maiden final in the Women’s Premier League. Mandhana was left quite in disbelief and later in tears of happiness as he embraced her teammates at the end of the match, while Harmanpreet was seen fighting back her emotions as she walked out to shake hands with the RCB players and congratulate them on the win.

RCB beat MI by 5 runs to reach WPL 2024 final

At one point in the chase of 136, Mumbai Indians looked immensely comfortable with seven wickets in hand and a well-set Harmanpreet at the crease alongside Amelia Kerr, who just found her rhythm after smashing two boundaries against Georgia Wareham. The MI skipper meanwhile got two boundaries against Ellyse Perry as Mumbai headed into the final three overs with just 20 runs to chase.

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However, RCB launched a late fight back with Shreyanka Patil bowling a brilliant 18th over, where she conceded just four singles for the wicket of Harmanpreet, while Sophie Molineux emulated the same in the 19th over, dismissing S Sanjana for just 1 as MI required 12 off the last bowl.

ALSO READ: RCB come back from the brink twice to knock defending champions MI out, set up WPL final with DC

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

With eight required off the last two balls, Amanjot Kaur only managed a single to put Kerr on strike. It was too much to ask from the New Zealand cricketer and Harmanpreet, who helplessly looked on from the dug out knew. Yet with Kerr portraying a composed figure at the crease, her compatriot Sophie Devine walked up to Mandhana to assist with the field.

In the final ball, the legbreak landed short of the drive of Kerr, who shimmied out of the crease for a lofted shot, but only got a thick outside edge as the ball bounced towards backward point. MI managed only a single as RCB players were left dumbfounded following the jailbreak.

Mandhana was left in tears, happy ones of course, before she hugged her teammates and celebrated with them, while Harmanpreet was tearful as well, but of disappointment after watching her team lose from a position of win.

“What a match. Still this feeling has not sunk in. At the halfway mark, we felt we were 20 runs short. But the way we bowled and fielded was amazing. 130 is a total where you are not sure whether to attack or defend, but the last over from Asha was unreal,” Mandhana said in the post-match presentation.

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


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