WPL 2023: Who is RCBW's batting sensation Kanika Ahuja?
Royal Challengers Bangalore finally opened their account in the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) 2023, recording their first win against UP Warriorz on Wednesday (March 15). Youngster Kanika Ahuja starred with a 46-run knock as RCBW chased down 136. This was a much-needed win for RCBW as they suffered defeats in their first five games. Here we decode Ahuja's profile.
A match-winning effort from the youngster
RCB were tottering at 60/4 in their chase as big guns like Sophie Devine, Smriti Mandhana, Ellyse Perry and, Heather Knight were back in the hut. Ahuja, who arrived at number five, led the fightback with a counter-attacking knock. She added 60 runs with Richa Ghosh (31*). Ahuja, who eventually fell prey to Sophie Ecclestone, scored 46 off 30 balls (8 fours, 1 six).
Who is Kanika Ahuja?
Ahuja was born on August 7, 2002, in Punjab. As per Cricbuzz, she is a roller-skater-turned-cricketer. Her journey to glory wasn't easy as her family didn't support her passion for cricket initially. While Ahuja's father wanted her to focus on her studies, she had the backing of her mother. She dedicated her match-winning performance to her mother, who is ill.
Performance dedicated to mother
"She's (her mother) a little physically unwell so I'm playing all for her, because she's watching me. I want to dedicate this to my mother," stated Kanika in the presser with a smile.
How she has fared in the tournament
This was Ahuja's breakthrough performance as she couldn't do much prior in the tournament. 8, 10, 22, and 0 read her previous scores in the competition. Meanwhile, the left-handed batter has garnered runs at a healthy rate of 140.98. Notably, RCBW are scheduled to play a couple of more league matches in the ongoing season.
What did Ahuja say after the game?
In the post-match conference, Ahuja stated that the required rate was under control, which allowed her to test a few balls initially. "The target was a little under par today, so I could afford to spend some time on the wicket to get set and then wait for the loose balls. All I was thinking was, we have to win," she said.
Ambitions to play for India
Needless to mention, the 20-year-old is determined to make her India debut. "Of course, like every player who takes up the game, I also want to play for India. I've got this platform of WPL to showcase my skills." With Ahuja being a left-handed hard-hitting batter, the selectors could see her as a valuable addition in the middle order.
How did the game pan out?
RCBW skipper Smriti Mandhana elected to field after winning the toss. Grace Harris (46) and Kiran Navgire (22) took UPW from 5/3 to 29/3 in the powerplay. Ellyse Perry dismissed three batters as UPW were folded for 135. Kanika and Richa Ghosh led the chase with power-packed knocks as RCBW crossed the line with two overs to spare.