After a hiatus of one year, the Women’s T20 Challange is set to return this year with three teams. Women’s cricket in recent times has witnessed the thriving scenario of leagues like WSL, WBBL, and Hundred. Even the invitational tournament like FairBreak also has gained momentum from the days of its emancipation. But BCCI, the richest board has been reluctant to organize a full-fledged Women IPL till now.
Though there have been talks about the 6-team WIPL from the next year, this year they went again with a three-team and 4 match tournament. The treatment is evident from the fact that one of the teams has to play consecutive matches within 16 hours in the scorching heat of Pune at end of May.
On a positive note, though the big names like Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, and Sikha Pandey will miss the action, a lot of promising players from the domestic structure have been selected, which at the same time bust the myth that the Indian domestic structure doesn’t have enough depth to have a full-fledged Women IPL. While in absence of Mithali Raj, Deepti Sharma will lead the Velocity side, defending champion Trailblazers will be led by Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the two times champion Supernovas.
Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Taniya Bhatia (VC), Alana King, Ayush Soni, Chandu V, Deandra Dottin, Harleen Deol, Meghna Singh, Monica Patel, Muskan Malik, Pooja Vastrakar, Priya Punia, Rashi Kanojia, Sophie Ecclestone, Suné Luus, M Joshi
While led by Indian T-2o skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, their opening will be depended on players like Dottin, who has been in good touch in the recently concluded Fair Break Series. Priya Punia has been in good touch in the domestic tournament with 253 at a strike rate of 127. Both of them will try for a blistering knock. Last year, Harleen Deol has almost won the match for Blazers in the group stage against Novas and, she has delivered with the balls as well.
Her touch in this championship edged her over the like of Dottin who, really struggled in the slow pitch. Harleen got a strike rate of 134, the 2nd best in the tournament, and can play a handy role in the dying overs. This year she will hope to do so. She was one of the two cricketers who have scored a century in the domestic tournament.
Supernovas have a blistering seam bowling attack. Meghna Singh, Monica Patel, Muskan Malik, Pooja Vastrakar, Ayusi Soni, and Manasi Joshi will be a swashbuckling attack. At the same time, they have a beautiful spin attack. Sophie Ecclestone was the highest wicket-taker in the Fair Break while Sune Luss‘s all-around ability will be crucial in the batting order. Alana King with her leg-spin will make her debut in the Women T-20 Challange. Rashi Kanojia has taken 8 wickets in 5 matches with a strike rate of 14.
Smriti Mandhana (C), Poonam Yadav (VC), Arundhati Reddy, Hayley Matthews, Jemimah Rodrigues, Priyanka Priyadarshini, R Gayakwad, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, S. Meghana, Saiqa Ishaque, Salma Khatun, Sharmin Akter, Sophia Dunkley, Sujata Mallik, S.B.Pokharkar
The defending champion, Trailblazers will be dependent on the batting prowess of players like Matthews, Smriti Mandhana, and S Meghna. These openers along with middle-order batters like Richa Ghosh, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Sophie Dunkley can destroy any bowling attack on any day. Priyanka Priyadarshini and Sujata Malik both of them taken 11 wickets with an economy of less than 6. There seam a bowling attack comprised of Arundhati Reddy and Renuka Singh.
Their spin bowling attack will be comprised of seasoned campaigners like Poonam Yadav, and Gayakwad while Saiqa Ishaque will be an interesting inclusion in their squad. Two Bangladeshi Salma Khatun and Sharmin Akter will boost the batting and all-round department. Salma Khatun got three wickets in the last year’s final. So her inclusion will provide a balance on the side.
Deepti Sharma (C), Sneh Rana (VC), Shafali Verma, Ayabonga Khaka, K.P.Navgire, Kate Cross, Keerthi James, Laura Wolvaardt, Maya Sonawane, Natthakan Chantham, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Pranavi Chandra
Velocity’s, batting will be dependent on the players like Laura Wolvaardt who has been in a run in Fair Break, and KP Navgire who topped the Domestic T-20 league with 525 runs and 1 century, 4 half-centuries. Shafali Verma and Yatika Bhatia were the 2nd and 3rd in the batting list, so they will play a crucial role in the middle order.
Skipper Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav and Sneh Rana will take care of the all-around department. Chantham, who gained popularity during the last year due to her fielding, will also be a player to watch out for. Chantham did well in the Fair Break with her 72 in one of the matches.
Radha Yadav who had played a crucial role in 2019’s season will again lead the spin bowling attack. Two international stars Khakha who has taken 5 wicket haul in Fair Break and Kate Cross will lead the seam bowling attack. Left-arm spinner Aarti Kedar who is the highest wicket-taker in this year’s senior domestic can play a crucial role in the side.
Women’s T20 Challenge Schedule:
May 23 – Trailblazers v/s Supernovas
May 24 – Supernovas v/s Velocity
May 26 – Velocity v/s Trailblazers
May 28 – Final
Live Streaming Details
Star Sports Network will telecast all the games of the Women’s T20 Challenge live on TV. The matches can also be streamed online on Disney+Hotstar as well.