By: Shubham Ghosh
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Women had a horrendous start to their campaign in the maiden Women’s Premier League (WPL) by losing five matches in a row. But Smriti Mandhana’s side eventually managed to stem the tide on Wednesday (15) when they beat UP Warriorz by five wickets at DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai to remain in fray. And the much-needed win came after ace India cricketer Virat Kohli, who plays for the RCB men’s team in the Indian Premier League met the women’s team and gave the players a pep talk.
Kohli, who is in Mumbai as part of the India squad ahead of the first one-day international against Australia on Friday (17), interacted with the players ahead of the match against the Warriorz, who hammered the RCB by 10 wickets in their first encounter a few days ago.
Virat Kohli’s pep talk to the RCB Women’s Team
King came. He spoke. He inspired. He’d be proud watching the girls play the way they did last night. Watch @imVkohli's pre-match chat in the team room on Bold Diaries.#PlayBold #ನಮ್ಮRCB #WPL2023 pic.twitter.com/fz1rxZnID2
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) March 16, 2023
RCB tweeted about Kohli’s meeting with the women players saying, “Virat Kohli’s pep talk to the RCB Women’s Team King came. He spoke. He inspired. He’d be proud watching the girls play the way they did last night. Watch @imVkohli’s pre-match chat in the team room on Bold Diaries.”
Chasing a modest target of 136 in 20 overs, RCB were in a spot of bother by losing both their openers for 14 runs but Kanika Ahuja’s 30-ball 46 and Richa Ghosh’s 31 not out off 32 helped them reach home with five wickets and two overs to spare.
“We were tensed but Kanika and Richa’s stand got us through. Very proud of Kanika. I think the camera showed I was nervous initially and we had to get a win at least today,” Mandhana, who got a massive deal in the auction for the WPL but hasn’t got enough runs yet, was quoted as saying by Zee News after the victory.
“But Kanika and Richa played really well. Kanika’s approach is brilliant. Indian players are more technical but her flair was brilliant to see. Big thanks to the loyal supporters, they were supporting even when they weren’t in great positions. This one’s for them,” the opening batter added.
“I just wanted to win a game for RCB. Since childhood, I have hit big sixes. My cricketing journey was difficult in Patiala initially but things are getting better. I’ve been in similar situations playing for Punjab, so I enjoy the pressure. The atmosphere in the team was a bit low when we were losing but we remained positive. The win today was great,” the 20-year-old Ahuja said, according to Zee News.
The win saw RCB moving up to the fourth spot overtaking Gujarat Giants who also have only one win so far but played one game less.
Mumbai Indians were topping the table with a hundred per cent win record in five games.
In the IPL, Kohli captained RCB in the past but failed to lift the crown. The closest he came to winning the title was in 2016 when RCB lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight runs.