Can Smriti Mandhana lead RCB to the maiden IPL title?

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The Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise was keen on getting a bid for the women’s team in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League. They did so in style as they get many of the superstars with a mix of experience, youth, and flair.

The franchise bought Indian southpaw and free flowing batter Smriti Mandhana for ₹3.4 crores becoming the most expensive player in the auction. Along with her, star Australian players were bought in form of Perry and Schutt. Smriti was named as the captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore as expected. But the question remains, has this team got the credentials to be able to lift the title?

Strong Foundation and Experience

Unlike the history of men’s IPL squad, the women’s team is built around a strong core foundation and experienced players in the form of Mandhana, Australian stalwarts Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, and the Blackfern Sophie Devine.

All of them are vastly experienced in this format and have played in various leagues in the world. They have been in pressure situations many times and can win you matches on their own. The playing 11 can be decided upon this strong core of match winners.

Batting Explosiveness

The batting lineup looks scary with Smriti Mandhana as the opener. The Indian batter can take the attack to the opposition without breaking any sweat.

Ellyse Perry is arguably the best all rounder to have played cricket. She can do everything: arrest a collapse, build an inners, and finish at the end. She is the perfect batter in the middle order. Sophie Devine is another all rounder in this RCB lineup. Devine has an excellent record in India. She has scored 222 runs from eight T20Is along with 14 wickets. These two form a strong middle order with other batters playing around them.

Richa Ghosh set the World Cup on fire with her excellent finishing skills with the bat. She was the most valuable player for team India and was the only Indian to feature in ICC’s Most Valuable team of Women’s T20 World Cup.

Thus, the batting lineup looks very balanced with each batter complementing the other. A lot will depend upon the form of Mandhana and Perry as they play a very crucial role in the batting lineup.

Inexperienced Bowling Lineup

Perry and Schutt are the bankable options with the ball for the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise. But the 32-year-old Perry has been dealing with lots of injuries in the recent years. If she cannot bowl a decent amount of overs consistently, the team looks short of quality bowling options. Renuka Thakur is a very good Indian pace bowling option but she lacks experience. The Himachal Pradesh born cricketer has been consistent but only in patches.

The spin bowling options are short of experience. Renuka Ahuja, Erin Burns, and Shreyanka Patil are the genuine spin bowling options for the Bangalore franchise. Apart from Erin Burns, no other spinner has played at the competitive level consistently.

Just like the men’s team, the RCB Women’s team would rely on their captain Smriti Mandhana and the overseas stars to fire in the tournament. These superstars have got too much talent in them to fail together as a unit. The form of these four big players is extremely important for RCB’s chances in the inaugural edition of the Women’s IPL. Even in some cases if the bowling does not fire, the batting will bail them out of trouble. The batting lineup looks extremely balanced on paper but the bowlers need to support their Batters to help the franchise get the first-ever trophy.

RCB Squad

Smriti Mandhana (c), Sophie Devine, Heather Knight, Megan Schutt, Kanika Ahuja, Erin Burns, Dane van Niekerk, Preeti Bose, Komal Zanzad, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Shreyanka Patil, Asha Shobana, Poonam Khemnar, Sahana Pawar, Richa Ghosh, Ellyse Perry, Renuka Singh

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