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‘Devine’ intervention keeps Royal Challengers alive

Demolition job: Devine’s blinder, a 36-ball 99, knocked the stuffing out of the Giants’ attack. 
| Photo Credit: SPORTZPICS/WPL

Royal Challengers Bangalore needed some divine intervention to keep its slender hopes alive. It came in the form of an astounding innings from Sophie Devine.

Devine, on Saturday night at the Brabourne Stadium here, played what should be one of the great knocks in women’s T20 cricket. It was power-hitting at its best. Her 99 off just 36 balls (9×4, 8×6) took RCB to an eight-wicket win against Gujarat Giants, with 4.3 overs to spare.

She dwarfed the Giants’ total of 188 for four — which had looked above par given the scores in the last few matches — in stunning fashion. The Kiwi all-rounder began her show, slog-sweeping Ashleigh Gardner for a six in the second over, in which she struck another six and three fours.

She continued in the same vein as she hit the ball ferociously around the ground. Some of the biggest sixes of the WPL came from her bat. Her sensational knock ended, one short of what would have been a well-deserved hundred: she was well-caught at the edge of the circle by Ashwani Kumari at mid-off off Kim Garth.

Her opening stand of 125 with Smriti Mandhana (37, 31b, 5×4, 1×6) had put the chase on track. RCB was taken home by Ellyse Perry (19 n.o., 12b) and Heather Knight (22 n.o., 15b).

Earlier, Laura Wolvaardt’s second successive fifty (68, 42b, 9×4, 2×6) and another hard-hitting knock from Gardner (41, 26b, 6×4, 1×6) were the highlights of Giants’ innings. Gardner could not have imagined how Devine was going to make a mockery of her team’s total.

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