Renuka Singh Thakur Resurfaces as RCB Triumphs Over Giants in WPL 2024

After a challenging 2023 season, Thakur's stellar performance leads RCB to back-to-back victories

In a dazzling display of skill and determination, Renuka Singh Thakur bounced back from a tough 2023 season to make a significant impact for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024. Her standout figures of 2/14 in a four-over burst proved instrumental in RCB’s victory over the Gujarat Giants.

Thakur, whose inclusion in the RCB squad last year was hailed as a major coup for the franchise, faced difficulties in the previous season of WPL. Along with the struggling RCB bowling unit, Thakur’s individual performance was not up to par, having picked up only one wicket in 16.4 overs, conceding 9.54 runs per over with an average of 159.

However, the tide turned on Tuesday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, where Thakur’s match-winning opening spell helped restrict the Giants to a mere 107/7 in 20 overs. Her crucial dismissals of key left-handers Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield set the tone for RCB’s dominance.

The match saw a quick chase by RCB, taking just 12.3 overs to reach the target, with Smriti Mandhana playing a scintillating knock, entertaining the crowd with a boundary-filled 43.

RCB, which struggled with a series of defeats at the beginning of the 2023 season, has now started WPL 2024 with consecutive victories. The team addressed its bowling concerns in the auction, securing Australian spinners Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham. Molineux showcased her class against the Giants, claiming 3/25 with her left-arm spin.

Thakur’s impactful performance was the result of her dedicated training at the National Cricket Academy, where she worked extensively on adding variations to her bowling, including away-swingers, reverse-swingers, and slower balls.

“In India, just one kind of delivery will not help. We need more variations, so I have worked with (coach) Troy Cooley quite a bit to add on away-swinger, reverse-swinger, and slower balls. That’s specifically why I wanted to go to the NCA, to work more on these and fitness,” expressed Thakur before RCB’s first match. Her efforts paid off handsomely against the Giants, where she bowled around the wicket to dismiss the opposition’s key batters.

As Smriti Mandhana’s form with the bat regained its luster, Thakur’s opening burst added another layer of strength to RCB’s arsenal. With her ability to dismiss opening batters through the gate, reminiscent of her performances in 2022, Thakur’s resurgence is a positive sign for both RCB and Indian cricket fans.

In summary, Gujarat Giants posted 107/7 in 20 overs (Dayalan Hemlatha 31; Sophie Molineaux 3/25, Renuka Singh 2/14), losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore 110/2 in 12.3 overs (Smriti Mandhana 43, Sabbhineni Meghana 36 not out) by 8 wickets. The victory marks RCB’s strong start to WPL 2024, with Thakur emerging as a key player in their quest for success.

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