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WPL 2024: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Squad, Fixtures and Players to Watch Out For

The second season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) gets underway on February 23 in Bengaluru. After the success of the first season, which was won by the Mumbai Indians, fans are excited for the second season, which will have the same teams as the first season. The first leg of the tournament will be played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, while the second leg will be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in the national capital, which will also host the playoffs and the final.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

The Royal Challengers Bangalore, a team that represents Bengaluru in the WPL, enjoys a large fan base. Owned by Diageo, who also owns the men’s team, the team is under the guidance of coach Luke Williams and led by captain Smriti Mandhana.

The side finished fourth in the group stage at the inaugural tournament in 2023. They won only two of their eight matches and finished with just four points. Despite boasting of several big names in their ranks, RCB were one of the worst performing teams last year and will be looking to make an impact this year. They will begin their campaign on February 24 against the UP Warriorz.

Royal Challengers Bangalore squad 

Despite a lacklustre performance in the previous season, RCB has demonstrated confidence in its core group by retaining 11 out of 18 players for the upcoming season. After releasing the experienced pacer Megan Schutt, RCB acquired the services of Kate Cross at the base price of Rs 30 lakh at the auction. Additionally, RCB will feel the absence of Heather Knight, who has withdrawn from this season. However, the inclusion of South Africa’s Nadine de Klerk and Australians Georgia Wareham adds depth and versatility to the squad. Last year, the made changes to their playing XI every match, something that they will look to avoid this season.

Full squad – Smriti Mandhana (C), Asha Shobana, Disha Kasat, Ellyse Perry, Nadine de Klerk, Indrani Roy, Shradda Pokharkar, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, Shreyanka Patil, Sophie Devine, Georgia Wareham, Kate Cross, Ekta Bisht, Shubha Satheesh, S Meghana, Simran Bahadur, Sophie Molineux.

Predicted XI: Sophie Devine, Smriti Mandhana (C), S. Meghana, Ellyse Perry, Kanika Ahuja, Richa Ghosh (WK), Sophie Molineux, Nadine de Klerk, Shreyanka Patil, Asha Sobhana, Renuka Thakur

Players to watch out for this season 

Sophie Devine 

Sophie Devine emerged as the shining beacon amid RCB’s modest performance in WPL 2023. Her impressive tally of 266 runs was accompanied by an impressive strike rate of 172.22. Not only a proficient batter, but Devine also proved her worth with her effective bowling contributions, making her a valuable asset to the team.

Devine’s prowess extends beyond the Women’s Premier League, evident in her impressive performances in the Big Bash League (BBL) over the years. In the 2023 edition, she showcased her all-round capabilities by claiming 14 wickets in 15 matches while also emerging as the fifth-highest run-scorer, amassing 489 runs at an average of 37.61 and a striking rate exceeding 140.

More recently, in December, she continued to shine on the international stage against Pakistan women, contributing significantly with both bat and ball. Across two T20Is and three ODIs, Devine notched up eight wickets and scored 121 runs. Her consistent displays have earned her an impressive batting average of over 28 and a strike rate of 121 in her 124-match T20 international career.

Shreyanka Patil 

Off-spinner Shreyanka Patil emerged as one of the better performers for RCB last season. She was the side’s second leading wicket-taker with six wickets in seven matches. Additionally, her striking ability with the bat makes her a valuable asset, particularly in venues like the Chinnaswamy Stadium, known for favouring batters.

In a T20I series against England in December 2023, Shreyanka won the Player of the Match award in the third game for her 3/19 and two catches. Overall, she picked up five wickets in three matches that series. Building on this success, Shreyanka continued to impress in a limited-overs series against Australia, securing an impressive tally of seven wickets across two ODIs and as many T20Is.

With a successful stint in international cricket last year under her belt, Shreyanka will be looking ahead to WPL 2024 with a sense of confidence.

Smriti Mandhana 

Despite being one of the marquee players, RCB skipper Smriti Mandhana failed to make a significant impact on the stage last year. In WPL 2023, she managed just 149 runs at a strike rate of 111.19, falling short of expectations with the bat, which inevitably affected the team’s overall performance.

This struggle to assert her dominance with the bat has been evident for a while, extending even to the recent international T20I series against Australia. While she did register a half-century in the opening game, Mandhana couldn’t capitalize on her starts in the subsequent matches. She will now look to regain form when the WPL 2024 gets underway. Mandhana has a batting average and strike rate of 27.46 and 121.53 in her 128-match T20I career.

Ellyse Perry

Renowned Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry, with her extensive experience and match-winning abilities, is another player to watch out for. In the previous season, Perry scored 253 runs and claimed eight wickets in eight innings for RCB.

Talking about her recent performances, Perry took 13 wickets in as many games in the WBBL, while also scoring 496 runs at an impressive average of 45 and a strike rate of over 132. The all-rounder brings with her the experience of 151 T20 internationals, in which she has scored 1841 runs and taken 125 wickets.

Sophie Molineux

Joining the RCB ranks as the latest addition is Sophie Molineux, secured for a significant sum of Rs 30 lakh. Her standout performances in the WBBL have been noteworthy, especially in WBBL 4, where she accumulated 354 runs and claimed 16 wickets.

Sophie played a pivotal role in Australia’s victorious T20 World Cup campaign in 2018, and has so far taken 26 wickets in 27 T20 internationals.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Schedule for WPL 2024

Feb 24: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs UP Warriorz At M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore at 7.30 PM IST

Feb 27: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Giants At M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore at 7.30 PM IST

Feb 29: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Capitals At M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore at 7.30 PM IST

Mar 2: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians At M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore at 7.30 PM IST

Mar 4: UP Warriorz vs Royal Challengers Bangalore At M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore at 7.30 PM IST

Mar 6: Gujarat Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore At Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi at 7.30 PM IST

Mar 10: Delhi Capitals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore At Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi at 7.30 PM IST

Mar 12: Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore At Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi at 7.30 PM IST

 

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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