Giants and RCB desperately need full points and a net run-rate boost
Gujarat Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in must-win contest
Remember when Royal Challengers Bangalore cheered wildly for a Mumbai Indians win over Delhi Capitals during the final group game of IPL 2022? Royal Challengers could end up doing something similar at the WPL if they beat Gujarat Giants on Saturday, because it will leave them with a chance of sneaking into the playoffs if other results go their way.
They would want UP Warriorz to lose their remaining games and stay on four points. Then, if Royal Challengers win their last two, they can get to six points and take the third place ahead of Giants on NRR, since their current NRR of -1.55 is better than that of Giants. They would have to hope Giants knock over Warriorz on Monday.
But a win against Royal Challengers and Warriorz will strengthen Giants' chances.
And as much as Giants haven't helped their cause with by constantly chopping and changing, they showed there's enough in the tank when they overcame Delhi Capitals. But they have not utilised their resources properly. For example: Mansi Joshi, an India international, has bowled all of one over in two games.
Royal Challengers, too, have struggled with the ball. Renuka Singh, their spearhead, has been taken to the cleaners match after match. But Sophie Devine being able to bowl again after a niggle has lent some balance with her seam-ups. They would also be pleased to see some of their uncapped players - Asha Shobana and Kanika Ahuja, especially - pull their weight.
All set then for a compelling contest between two misfiring teams with playoff spots on the line.
Players to watch
Kanika Ahuja showed her 360-degree game in the previous outing, helping turn a potentially challenging chase against Warriorz into a canter. She made 46 off 30 balls, exhibiting the virtues of being fearless. What more can she do?
Adjusting to Indian conditions, especially Mumbai's sapping humidity, can take a toll at the best of times, but three games in, Laura Wolvaardt has had time to soak it all in. Now for the opportunity to deliver that one blockbuster performance at the fag end of what has been a challenging season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Smriti Mandhana (capt), 2 Sophie Devine, 3 Ellyse Perry, 4 Heather Knight, 5 Richa Ghosh (wk), 6 Kanika Ahuja, 7 Disha Kasat, 8 Shreyanka Patil, 9 Megan Schutt, 10 Shobana Asha, 10 Renuka Singh/Komal Zanzad
Gujarat Giants: 1 Sophia Dunkley, 2 Laura Wolvaardt, 3 Harleen Deol, 4 Ash Gardner, 5 D Hemalatha, 6 Ashwani Kumari, 7 Sushma Verma (wk), 8 Sneh Rana (capt), 9 Tanuja Kanwar, 10 Kim Garth, 11 Hurley Gala/Mansi Joshi
"Always think about the opportunity that you have rather than how bad it is right now. There is always a flip side to it, and it could always be worse than this."
Virat Kohli's advice to Royal Challengers earlier in the week
"Gujarat have multi-fold problems. How can a team having Rachael Haynes and Mithali Raj have such poor thinking? It just seems cluttered. Sophia Dunkley was in good form, she was the Player of the Match, and you dropped her. You play Laura Wolvaardt with confidence in the next match, you feel she will do good, but you drop her when she gets out and bring back Sophia. Will you change in the next match again?"
Former India opener Aakash Chopra slams Giants management's approach