Skipper Alyssa Healy led from the front with a scintillating 47-ball 96 not out as UP Warriorz hammered Royal Challengers Bangalore by 10 wickets in the Women's Premier League in Mumbai on Friday. (More Cricket News)
During her unbeaten knock, Healy smashed 18 fours and a six en route to leading the UP franchise to its second win of the tournament, even as RCB suffered their fourth straight defeat to dent their prospects of advancing further.
Healy's 96 not out is the highest individual score in the WPL thus far, bettering teammate Tahlia McGrath's 90 not out. UPW completed the task with as many as 42 balls remaining.
Chasing a modest target of 139, UP Warriorz were off to a brisk start with the opening duo of Healy and Devika Vaidya (36 not out off 31 balls) finding boundaries at will.
This was after UP Warriorz spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Deepti Sharma gave away very little while striking at regular intervals to bowl out RCB, who opted to bat first, for 138 in 19.3 overs. Ellyse Perry top-scored for RCB with a 39-ball 52.
Seasoned English left-arm spinner Ecclestone finished with incredible figures of 4/13 in her full quota of four overs, while Deepti ended with 3/26.
Such was the onslaught by Healy that the Warriorz raced to 55 in six overs, before a strategic timeout was taken.
Healy was dealing in boundaries and initially, she was particularly severe on off-spinner Shreyanka Patil, who leaked 24 runs in her first two overs thanks to the flurry of boundaries by the Australian star.
Medium pacer Komal Zanzad gave away 22 runs in her first two overs as the two UP batters meant business, with Devika playing perfect second fiddle to the aggressive Healy while also maintaining a strike rate of over run a ball.
Having conceded just two runs in her opening over, medium pacer Renuka Singh faced Healy's onslaught when she came on to bowl again, giving away 18 runs as the Australian picked four boundaries on the trot to inch closer to the target.
Earlier, Sophie Devine (36 off 24 balls) started the RCB innings by hitting Grace Harris for a four and a six off the match's second and third deliveries, collecting 13 runs in the opening over at the Brabourne Stadium.
The maximum was a super shot as Devine, seeing the ball in the slot, positioned herself perfectly and smoked it over the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Sharing the new ball with Grace, left-arm seamer Anjali Sarvani ran into an in-form Devine as the versatile New Zealander scored two fours off the India bowler.
With RCB going very well at 29 for no loss after three overs, UP Warriorz skipper Alyssa Healy effected a bowling change and brought on Rajeshwari Gayakwad into the attack, and it paid dividends straightaway as the bowler sent back RCB captain Smriti Mandhana (4) with her first ball.
It was a length delivery outside off stump, and Mandhana failed to time it and ended up giving an easy catch to Sarvani at extra cover, continuing her below-par outing in the inaugural WPL.
Given the situation, it was an excellent first over from Rajeshwari as she conceded just one run while taking the big wicket of Mandhana.
Australian star Ellyse Perry wasted little time in finding her groove, scoring two boundaries off Sarvani to maintain RCB's fine run rate. Then there was a four -- which came off a mishit -- and a six straight down the ground against Rajeshwari's bowling after beautifully getting to the pitch of the ball.
Despite losing Mandhana, RCB racked up 54 runs in the six powerplay overs.
Ecclestone bowled an economical seventh over before Perry struck two successive fours off experienced off-spinning all-rounder Deepti Sharma.
Ecclestone was rewarded for her fine bowling as she bowled Devine, who struck five fours and a six.
Perry continued with her attacking ways before Deepti took her out, much to the UP team's relief. RCB lost the plot after that, as the duo of Deepti and Ecclestone kept taking wickets regularly.