Left-arm spin all-rounder Sophie Molineux, who took three wickets in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s eight-wicket win over Gujarat Giants in WPL 2024, believes India fast-bowler Renuka Thakur had set the tone for the side’s wins in both their matches so far via controlling the run-flow in the power-play. In WPL 2023, Renuka had a forgettable time by picking just one wicket at an economy of 9.54 in six matches for RCB. But in the ongoing season, Renuka had stepped up to be a pace-bowling mainstay, seen from her new-ball spell of 2-14 and sending Gujarat into a setback from which they could never recover, earning her the Player of the Match award. WPL 2024: Sabbhineni Meghana, Smriti Mandhana Shape Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Eight-Wicket Win Against Gujarat Giants.

"Yeah, Renuka has been incredible in both games and playing against her for India, she's just so reliable and it's great to be on the same team as her. She swings the ball beautifully at the front and I think she's really set the tone for us in both games. To be able to control the powerplay is a big thing in T20 cricket and she's done that twice now and I can see her continuing to do that," said Sophie in the post-match press conference.

Last season, RCB lost their first five matches in WPL 2023 and eventually missed the bus for the knockouts. But this time, they have won their first two games and are seated at the top of the table. If they started off with spin in the tight two-run win over UP Warriorz, then they had no issues in beginning with pace to rattle Gujarat.

Under new head coach Luke Williams, role clarity and adaptability with the ball has been a major catalyst in RCB maintaining a clean slate in the tournament so far. "I feel like in T20 cricket as a bowler, you need to be really clear on what your strengths are, what you can bring to the team." WPL 2024: ‘Smriti Mandhana Has Been Proactive and Bold With Her Decisions’, Says Sophie Devine.

"Luke and all the staff have been very clear with each bowler and what their roles are gonna be and also at the same time, be willing to adapt like we did today. We had a completely different look to our powerplay where we were pace-heavy. So, that's all about T20 cricket especially, just be clear on your own individual plans where they fit with the team and be able to change on the fly."

RCB’s next match in WPL 2024 will be against the Delhi Capitals on Thursday evening at their home ground, M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 28, 2024 03:46 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).