2nd Match (D/N), Brabourne, March 05, 2023, Women's Premier League
(20 ov, T:224) 163/8

DC Women won by 60 runs

Player Of The Match

The Shafali-Lanning show flattens RCB before Tara Norris' five-for

RCB stutter in their chase despite having the firepower of Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry and Heather Knight

Meg Lanning and Shafali Verma's opening stand was worth 162  •  BCCI

Meg Lanning and Shafali Verma's opening stand was worth 162  •  BCCI

Delhi Capitals 223 for 2 (Shafali 84, Lanning 72, Kapp 39*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 163 for 8 (Mandhana 35, Knight 34, Norris 5-29) by 60 runs
It was just over a week ago when a disappointed Shafali Verma was watching Australia captain Meg Lanning celebrate a thrilling win over India in the T20 World Cup semi-finals in Cape Town. On Sunday, the two came together to feast on a listless Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling, fist-bumping their way to a rollicking 162-run stand in 14.3 overs at the Brabourne Stadium.
Delhi Capitals amassed 223 for 2, the second 200-plus total in a row in the WPL, and in turn, Royal Challengers could only get to 163 for 8, as USA's Tara Norris - the only Associate player in the tournament - bagged five wickets.
It wasn't like Royal Challengers did not have the firepower. Having Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry and Heather Knight in your line-up is an absolute dream. On a good batting surface, you expect these big names to show up. But Capitals have Lanning and she is no ordinary captain. Actually, we can say it out loud: she is a five-time World Cup-winning captain.
She placed a mid-off and prompted Alice Capsey to bowl wide to Devine, who had been targeting that area for boundaries. That resulted in a superb catch by Shafali at mid-off to dismiss the dangerous Devine for just 14. Lanning brought on left-arm spinner Radha Yadav only after Mandhana was dismissed. And she never gave Royal Challengers a chance to recover after that.

The Shafali-Lanning serve: elegance, power and everything in between

"Dekho, video analyst aaj sab ke saath hai, sabko pata hai kiski weakness aur strength hai toh bilkul sab humne plan kiya aur execute karenge aaj (Every team has a video analyst so everyone knows others' strength and weakness, we have planned everything and we will execute it)."
That was Shafali's response to the host broadcaster before the match on being asked what advise she gave Lanning to stop Mandhana from scoring runs. On the day, Shafali made sure Royal Challengers did not execute any of their strategies they possibly had for her, as she brought her full Shafali game. It was evident in the way she effortlessly charged down the pitch to gracefully drive the ball over long-on or how she backed away to heave a short and wide ball from Devine powerfully over mid-off.
While acknowledging that she found her fluency on the day, Shafali also said she was upset that she fell before reaching her century.
"I knew it was my day today," she said after the match. "I was telling myself that I need to bat throughout. When I got out in my 80s, I got really sad because it was that kind of a day, and I couldn't get my century. It was my time to have hit a century. My family's presence at the stadium also gave me confidence. And I was only thinking that I should convert and that I shouldn't play any loose shot."
At the other end was world-class Lanning, showing off her elegance with every shot. She played her favourite cut every time the ball fell short and wide. She also targeted the area behind square with her pulls and sweeps. The duo hardly spared any bowler, leaving Royal Challengers clueless. They put up the fifth-highest stand in women's T20 leagues, and they did that by constantly encouraging each other in the middle.
"She [Lanning] was constantly appreciating me and I was more and more encouraged by it," Shafali said. "We were just backing each other. She knows how I play and I know how she plays. I was also trying to back her, [I wanted her to be] confident and comfortable playing with me. When I hit a four she said, 'good shot, keep playing' and I also (did) that, kept telling her 'good shot, keep going like this' and I really enjoyed playing with her."
Ahead of the tournament, Lanning had said she couldn't wait to stand at the other end and watch Shafali "whack other teams around the park". Not only did her wish come true in Capitals' first match, but she also got to join the party. On a sweltering Sunday afternoon, the duo made Mandhana regret her decision to bowl first.
While we'll leave you to decide what the pair's nickname should be, all we can say is we ship this budding womance.

Kapp's blitz and Tara Norris, the Associate trump card

The duo also laid the perfect platform for Marizanne Kapp to the off from. Along with Jemimah Rodrigues, Kapp made sure the run rate did not drop as she took on Perry, Megan Schutt and Knight for fours and sixes to get the team total to 200 in the 19th over. She scored a boundary off the last ball of the innings to finish with a 17-ball 39.
Capitals had a standout performer in the bowling department too. Norris, the USA left-arm quick, who has been building her experience by plying her trade in the England domestic circuit, came to the party later in the evening.
When Perry was just finding her touch in the tall chase, Norris all but ended Royal Challengers' hopes by getting her to drag on in the 11th over. In the same over, she sent No. 4 Disha Kasat back with a short ball. Norris struck twice in her next over too, dismissing Richa Ghosh and Kanika Ahuja. By the end of that 13th over, Royal Challengers' equation had reached an improbable 128 off 42 balls with just four wickets in hand.
And in her final over, with Royal Challengers floundering, Norris also had Knight caught at cover to cap a memorable spell of 5 for 29.

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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