Watch: 20-year-old Kanika Ahuja struck three boundaries off four balls yesterday (March 15) en route to a 30-ball 46 to take the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to their first victory in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL).
The RCB bowlers had started off brilliantly against the UP Warriorz, reducing them to 5-3 within the first two overs. At 31-5 after 8.1 overs, the match seemed to be headed one way, but Grace Harris had other plans. Along with Deepti Sharma, she stitched a 69-run partnership for the sixth wicket and it looked like RCB might let another opportunity slip.
The Warriorz were eventually bowled out for a below-par 135, but the match was far from over. It reflected at the start of the RCB innings as they lost both openers within nine balls. By the seventh over, Ellyse Perry was back in the hut as well with the score reading 43-3.
At this point Ahuja took charge. Coming in to bat at five, she smashed her very first ball for four and took regular but calculative risks. When Rajeshwari Gayakwad came on to bowl the 12th over, Bangalore needed 61 runs off 54 balls with six wickets in hand. A slight misstep might have put them in a spot of bother.
But Ahuja’s confidence shone through. She first shuffled across her stumps and ramped a good-length ball on off stump to the fine leg fence for four, and followed it with a classic inside-out drive over extra cover for another boundary. Talk about range. Ahuja finished the over with another ramp shot for four, anticipating a flatter ball after her shot over extra cover. Talk about smarts.
It was certainly an impressive performance against a bowler of the calibre of Gayakwad, who boasts of 58 T20I wickets – the fourth-most for India in the format.
That over brought the equation down to a run a ball. RCB sailed through to the finish line with Richa Ghosh steering the chase towards the end. Ahuja was awarded the Player of the Match for her enterprising knock.
Watch Kanika Ahuja hit three fours in four balls against experienced pro Rajeshwari Gayakwad:
Three 4️⃣s in an over 🔥
Kanika Ahuja is playing an important role in the chase for #RCB as she has quickly moved to 44* off 26
Follow the match ▶️ https://t.co/uW2g78eMJa#TATAWPL | #UPWvRCB pic.twitter.com/3Iw4wrvZmQ
— Women’s Premier League (WPL) (@wplt20) March 15, 2023