Women's IPL on the horizon in the future?
In what comes as another step towards pushing the envelope as far as Women's version of the Indian Premier League is concerned, the BCCI has announced a 4-match Women's T20 Challenge which will be played during the IPL Playoffs between May 06 and 11.
Last year, the Board of Cricket for Control in India, experimented with a one-off Women's T20 match. The game was played between IPL Trailblazers and IPL Supernovas- led by Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur respectively. But this season, it has been extended to a triangular series with the addition of a new team- Velocity, led by Mithali Raj.
The 2018 edition had just players from England, Australia, and New Zealand take part in the one-off T20, played at the Wankhede Stadium. But this time, following the unavailability of the Australian and South African players, the tournament will welcome players from Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh.
There is a plethora of overseas influx to go along with the local Indian talent in all the three teams of the Women's T20 Challenge. While the Supernovas- led by Harmanpreet Kaur- boast of overseas players like Chamari Athapaththu [SL], Kiwi fast bowler Lea Tahuhu, English all-rounder Natalie Sciver, and the White Ferns' superstar Sophie Bates, the Indian contingent also has names like Jemiamah Rodriques, Poonam Yadav, and Mansi Joshi, lending potency to the squad.
The Trailblazers, on the other hand, will be led by the No.1 ODI and T20I batswoman in the world, Smriti Mandhana. Mandhana will be joined by the likes of West Indian all-rounder, Steffanie Taylor, English bowler Sophie Ecclestone and the former captain of the White Ferns', Suzie Bates. As far as the Indian talent is concerned, Jhulan Goswami will spearhead the pace attack while Deepti Sharma will lead the spin attack.
The new team on the block, Velocity, will be led by India's ODI skipper, Mithali Raj and will have the likes of English opener Danielle Wyatt, Jahanara Alam [Bangladesh] and Hayley Matthews to go along with the local Indian players in Ekta Bisht, Shikha Pandey, Sushma Verma, and Veda Krishnamurthy.
The tournament will kickoff at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur from May 06 when the Supernovas will lock horns against Smriti Mandhana's Trailblazers. Each team will square off against each other once before the top-2 sides' play the finals on May 11th.