Home IPL 2024 News Mandhana avoids the limelight at the ‘Queens 2024’ party at the Kotla

Mandhana avoids the limelight at the ‘Queens 2024’ party at the Kotla

Mandhana avoids the limelight at the ‘Queens 2024’ party at the Kotla

Initially, it seemed like the Delhi Capitals would win, but outstanding leadership and outstanding spin bowling shifted the momentum in favor of RCB.

After Richa Ghosh scored the final runs, all the players from Royal Challengers Bangalore stormed onto the field. This victory was significant as they had finished fourth in the first edition of the tournament. Despite Delhi Capitals having a perfect record against them and reaching the final directly, RCB secured their spot in the playoffs by winning their last league match and finishing third. This win also puts an end to the ongoing joke about RCB never winning anything.

Smriti Mandhana wasn’t there.

The players’ sheer happiness was completely justified, with over 29,000 fans cheering them on at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. Shreyanka Patil led the celebrations, rushing to Richa Ghosh in the middle, embracing every member of the RCB team, and giving a lively interview. She humorously remarked, “They keep saying, ‘This year the cup is ours,’ well, we’ve got the cup, so… that’s it, guys!” The team danced away the moment before and after the trophy presentation, in front of the “QUEENS 2024” sign.

It was quite fitting – Ghosh and Patil had cried on the field just a week ago following a heartbreaking one-run loss against the Capitals.

However, Mandhana was all but quiet.

She was the last to join the celebration on the field after the team’s eight-wicket win. While others were jumping around with excitement, her happiness seemed more subdued. Slowly, she walked towards the center. She first hugged Capitals’ all-rounder Arundhati Reddy, who had just conceded the winning runs. After exchanging handshakes with others, she lifted Ellyse Perry, who had contributed an unbeaten 35 runs, in a hug.

Shortly after, Mandhana disappeared once more. She wasn’t seen with the group of RCB players dancing, nor with another group chatting with team owners. She also wasn’t among the players celebrating with the support staff.


Around ten minutes later, she came out of the dressing room and reunited with her teammates.

“In the press conference later, Mandhana explained, “The first thing I did was go to the dressing room and sit down. It’s difficult for me to celebrate like everyone else. I don’t know, maybe there’s something wrong with me.”


Three hours prior, RCB’s chances of smiling seemed bleak. Capitals chose to bat first, as has been the trend in the Delhi leg of WPL 2024. They started strongly, thanks to Shafali Verma. She aggressively attacked the RCB bowlers during the powerplay, hitting sixes off Sophie Molineux, Renuka Singh, and Perry. Shafali had a response to every challenge she faced. As a result, the Capitals reached 61 runs without losing any wickets in six overs, their second-highest score in this phase across two seasons of the competition.


Following this, Mandhana reintroduced Molineux, who had conceded ten runs in the second over. This decision proved fruitful right away. Molineux delivered a ball above Shafali’s eye line, and she mistimed her shot, sending it straight to deep midwicket. Mandhana then claimed two wickets in consecutive deliveries, dismissing both Jemimah Rodrigues and Alice Capsey without scoring, which dealt a significant blow from which Capitals couldn’t recover.


After the early setbacks, Mandhana introduced Patil into the attack, who promptly removed Meg Lanning for the second consecutive game. Patil and Asha Sobhana carried on the momentum initiated by Molineux, as Capitals collapsed, losing nine of their ten wickets to spin. Despite starting at 64 without loss, they collapsed dramatically, losing all their wickets for just 49 runs, and were bowled out for 113.

The RCB management would have been delighted with Molineux’s performance in WPL 2024. Their decision to pick her at the auction proved to be a wise one as she claimed 12 wickets with an economy rate of 7.31. She predominantly bowled during the powerplay and at the death overs. Despite returning from an ACL injury that sidelined her for a significant portion of two years, she emerged as RCB’s joint-second highest wicket-taker.


“We’ve been tracking her for quite some time,” Mandhana mentioned. “I recall her bowling against us during the one-day series in 2021, where we came close to victory during our tour to Australia. I believe she made the difference between the Australian and Indian teams back then. Her bowling performance in the last four-five overs left a lasting impression on me.”


“The past two years have been incredibly challenging for her, with a few injuries. Going through an ACL injury myself, I understand the pain she endured, so I’m genuinely thrilled for her,” Mandhana expressed. “The way she made her comeback was remarkable. Not just today, but even in the eliminator, bowling an exceptional 19th over against Mumbai Indians [conceding only four runs and taking a wicket]. I’m truly delighted for her, and I believe she is undoubtedly a remarkable player.”

During the 2021 series, Molineux exhibited remarkable resilience when she broke her jaw after being hit by a throw in the third ODI, yet she persisted and continued playing. Her ability to bounce back from adversity and deliver under pressure has been evident time and again. As she gears up for the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, it’s noteworthy that she has also regained her spot in Australia’s white-ball squads.


“This victory feels particularly special, especially considering I hadn’t played cricket for some time,” Molineux expressed after being awarded Player of the Match. “I felt like my bowling pace was a bit slower tonight. Throughout the tournament, I noticed I was getting a bit too quick. That’s part of tournament play – you have to continuously learn from your innings and the mistakes you make, and then focus on the next game.”


Molineux’s triple-wicket over prevented an Australian captain from claiming victory, ensuring that an Indian captain would once again lift the trophy.


After receiving the WPL trophy, Mandhana handed it over to the young brigade under the leadership of Patil, then quietly retreated to the back of the group on the left, remaining unobtrusive, almost fading into the background once more.