Gujarat Giants (GG) suffered a huge setback as they lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by eight wickets in their penultimate league match of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, March 18.

Laura Wolvaardt’s 68 runs off 42 balls, along with contributions from Ashleigh Gardner (41) and Sabbhineni Meghana (31) powered the Giants to 188/4 in their 20 overs. Later, the Giants’ bowlers experienced a tough night as Sophie Devine slammed 99 runs off just 36 balls to help RCB chase down the target in 15.3 overs.

Earlier, Giants’ captain Sneh Rana won the toss and opted to bat first. They made one change, bringing in Sabbhineni Meghana in place of Mansi Joshi. On the other hand, Preeti Bose replaced Renuka Singh in RCB’s playing XI.

Openers Sophia Dunkley and Laura Wolvaardt got the Giants off to a good start as they added 27 runs off just 15 balls.

However, Dunkley was later cleaned up by Sophie Devine for a 10-ball 16.

Meghana joined Wolvaardt at the crease. The duo played sensibly as they forged a 50-run partnership for the second wicket.

Wolvaardt and Meghana stitched an impressive 63-run stand before the Indian batter was dismissed by left-arm spinner Bose for 31.

Following Meghana’s dismissal, Giants’ star all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner walked into bat.

Gardner quickly got off the mark as she smashed Asha Shobana for a six over mid-on.

At the other end, Wolvaardt continued her scintillating form as she brought up her second consecutive fifty in the ongoing WPL.

Meanwhile, Gardner and Wolvaardt slammed boundaries to different parts of the ground to put the Giants in a commanding position.

The two swashbuckling batters added 52 runs off just 25 balls before Wolvaardt perished to Shreyanka Patil for a brilliant 42-ball 68. Her innings was laced with nine fours and two sixes.

Giants’ vice-captain Gardner also looked in great touch as she quickly raced to a 25-ball 41 before Shreyanka trapped her in front of the stumps.

In the final few overs, Dayanlan Hemalatha (16 not out) and in-form Harleen Deol (12 not out) hit three fours and two sixes to power the Giants to 188/4 in their 20 overs.

Chasing a daunting target, captain Smriti Mandhana and Sophie Devine provided RCB a great start.

The pair played some attacking cricket as RCB reached fifty in just 3.4 overs.

Meanwhile, Devine played a blitzkrieg knock as she notched up her own fifty off just 20 balls, which is now the third fastest in the WPL.

In the 10th over, skipper Rana provided the Giants the much-needed breakthrough as she dismissed Mandhana (37) to put an end to the 125-run opening partnership.

However, Devine continued to pile more pressure on the Giants’ bowling line-up as she inched closer to her hundred.

Star pacer Kim Garth later removed Devine for a 36-ball 99 to bring some relief for the Giants. Devine’s dazzling innings included nine fours and eight sixes.

From thereon, Ellyse Perry (19 not out) and Heather Knight (22 not out) forged an unbeaten 32-run stand to guide RCB to their second win in the WPL.

Having accumulated four points from seven matches, the Giants will lock horns with UP Warriorz in their final league game at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday, March 20.