The much anticipated 2nd season of Women’s T20 challenge is finally all set to start. Taking one step ahead from the last year’s one off T20 exhibition game, this year the BCCI has launched a mini tournament. The tournament will start from 6th May and the final will be played on the 11th May. All the matches will take place at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
Last year in the blazing Mumbai heat, two teams Supernova and Trailblazers played an exciting game which went down to the wire. On the last delivery of the match Supernovas scampered past Trailblazers to register a three wicket victory.
Looking at the success of WBBL in Australia and the WCSL in England, it was a matter of time that BCCI which are arguably one of the most influential administrative body in the world would introduce Women’s T20 tournament. The last year’s one-off game was seen as a welcome move by some but it was marred by controversies from payments to scheduling.
In the last year, Australia’s blueprint of dedicated focus on WBBL delivered its fruits and led them to not only the WT20 title, but also showcased depth of their talent pool. This year it was rumoured that the BCCI would launch a full-fledged Women’s IPL along with the men’s IPL which is arguably one of the most popular global sporting event.
As the days kept passing by, there was no communication from the BCCI regarding launch of the tournament. Rumours kept flying from it will be a 4- team tournament with 10 matches to the whole thing getting cancelled altogether.
Finally on 24thApril, BCCI confirmed the tournament will take place in Jaipur and added one more team to make it a triangular tournament. All teams will play one match against each other and top two teams will meet in the final. This ultra-short form of the tournament not only makes it exciting but it makes all the games as must wins if you want to play the final.
To the existing Supernovas and Trailblazers which were led by Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana respectively, the BCCI added a third team named Velocity captained by Mithali Raj. This addition of the third team means more domestic players will get an opportunity to rub their shoulders with some of the elite foreign players.
Most notable absentee in this year’s Women’s IPL will definitely be superstars from Australia who will not be taking part due to administrative communications breakdown. Last year Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt were part of the 2 teams in which 5 overseas players played in the starting 11. This year only 4 overseas players have been named in the squad of 13, making it equal opportunity to the domestic players.
Below is the detailed lowdown on all the squad transfers and additions.
Defending champions Supernovas are led by India’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur who is returning from injury which made her miss out on the T20I series at home against England. Along with Kaur, Supernovas retained Anuja Patil, Sophie Devine (New Zealand) and Taniya Bhatia. Along with Raj, Wyatt (England), Krishnamurthy and Gayakwad were transferred out whereas Poonam Yadav, Lea Tahuhu (New Zealand) and Jemimah Rodrigues are transferred from Trailblazers.
6 new faces have joined the squad including Chamari Atapattu (Sri Lanka), Natalie Sciver (England) and Arundhati Reddy, Mansi Joshi, Priya Punia and Radha Yadav who have already been playing for Indian national team. Meshram, Vastrakar (injured) along with Lanning, Perry and Schutt (all Australia) lost their place in the side.
They are led by India’s T20I vice-captain and ICC’s Female Player of the Year Smriti Mandhana. Trailblazers too suffered shakedown in their squad but they retained Hemalatha, Sharma, Goswami and Suzie Bates (New Zealand) and Gayakwad is brought in from Supernovas.
Fulmali, Deol, Akhtar and Kalpana have been added to the squad along with Ecclestone (England), Selman and one of world cricket’s superstars Stafanie Taylor (both Windies). Bisht and Pandey were transferred out whereas Healy and Mooney (both Australia) and Hazell (England) have been dropped.
New team, new players, new colours and a new captain to lead the side. Mithali Raj who is India’s arguably one of the most experienced players has been named captain of the side. Raj and Krishamurthy are transferred from Supernovas along with England’s swashbuckling opener Wyatt as Bisht and Pandey joined the squad from Trailblazers.
New Zealand’s Kerr, Jahanara Alam from Bangladesh and Matthews from Windies have been brought in as overseas players whereas Vaidya, Zanzad, Shafali and Sushma Verma, Dibyadarshini are the new domestic faces.
The round-robin fixtures are as follows.
6th May Supernovas v Trailblazers 7.30 pm (IST)
8th May Trailblazers v Velocity 3.30 pm (IST)
9th May Supernovas v Velocity 7.30 pm (IST)
Final will be played on 11th May at 7.30 pm (IST) between 1st and 2nd placed teams.
Supernovas – Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Anuja Patil, Arundhati Reddy, Chamari Atapattu (Sri Lanka), Jemimah Rodrigues, Lea Tahuhu (New Zealand), Mansi Joshi, Natalie Sciver, Poonam Yadav, Priya Punia, Radha Yadav, Sophie Devine, Taniya Bhatia
Trailblazers – Smriti Mandhana (c), Bharati Fulmali, Dayalan Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Harleen Deol, Jasia Akhtar, Jhulan Goswami, Ravi Kalpana, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shakera Selman (Windies), Sophie Ecclestone (England), Stafanie Taylor (Windies), Suzie Bates (New Zealand)
Velocity – Mithali Raj (c), Amelia Kerr (New Zealand), Dani Wyatt (England), Devika Vaidya, Ekta Bisht, Hayley Matthews (Windies), Jahanara Alam, Komal Zanzad, Shafali Verma, Shikha Pandey, Sushma Verma, Sushree Dibyadarshini, Veda Krishnamurthy