WPL 2023 RCB: Why Is The First WPL Turning Out To Be A Forgettable One For Smriti Mandhana? The Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2023 has reached the halfway stage with the inaugural season witnessing some exciting contests. Harmanpreet Kaur-led Mumbai Indians (MI) are at the top of the points table while Smriti Mandhan-led RCB disappoints their fans with five consecutive losses.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) was expected to top the table but Smriti Mandhana and co are at the bottom of the WPL 2023 points table. Just before the tournament began, Smriti was expected to be amongst the highest scorers, but so far the left-hander’s performance has looked below par.
The India opener has scored just 88 runs in 5 matches so far in the tournament. In RCB’s last match against Delhi Capitals, Smriti was dismissed for just 8 in 15 balls. Royal Challengers Bangalore men’s team consisted of some big names in the past like Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Chris Gayle, etc but they too haven’t been able to perform to their standards as still, they haven’t won an IPL title.
Is the RCB Women’s team going the same way or can we see a different RCB team in the Women’s League in the remaining fixtures or the next season? The Women’s RCB team also consists of big names like Heather Knight, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Erin burns, Richa Ghosh, and Renuka Singh.
So what is affecting Smriti Mandhana’s form as well as her captaincy? We analyze for points that have made the inaugural WPL a forgettable one for Smriti Mandhana.
#4 Captaining the side for the first time in such a big event
The Women’s Premier League is being played for the first time and captaining the side for the first time in such a hyped-up event might have been challenging so far for her in front of huge crowds. Any player who leads the side for the first time is bound to be in a tricky situation as that player needs time. Smriti will need time to settle down in her role as a skipper.
#3 Poor decision-making when it comes to bowling changes and field placements
The 27-year-old has fallen short when it comes to rotating her prime bowlers like Renuka Singh and Megan Schutt on slow wickets with bowlers like Sophie Devine. Spinner Shreyanka Patil was used mostly at the end when she should have bowled in the middle overs.
More attacking field placements should have been used for batters like Meg Lanning and Haley Matthews and more fielders should have been positioned on the leg-side boundaries.
#2 Smriti’s weakness against spin
The left-hander has got out four times so far in the tournament off the bowling of spinners. She has been dismissed by off-spinners four times by Alice Capsey, Hayley Matthews, Ashleigh Gardner, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the first four games. The 26-year-old has mistakes against the off-spinners previously and this has been visible in the WPL.
At times, Smriti looked in two minds while playing on the front foot against the spinners and her balance looked out of sync while playing attacking shots against the spinners ultimately giving away her wicket even though when it looked like she had got the start.
#1 Pressure of Captaincy & Batting responsibility
It’s not necessary that a batsman or a bowler can perform in the same way when he/she is given the added responsibility of captaincy. Every player possesses a different temperament depending on his/her ability to handle both responsibilities (as a player as well as a captain) under demanding situations.
Smriti Mandhana is undoubtedly a fine batsman and has performed brilliantly under pressure with the bat but she might not have the same temperament when it comes to leading the side. So this added responsibility might be affecting her batting.