Indian women’s cricket stands at a very important place at the moment – the launch of a women’s IPL tournament. The Women’s IPL 2019 will be played in Jaipur between May 6th to May 11th and will comprise of 3 teams – Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity. In the round-robin stage 3 matches will be played when team plays the other 2 teams once. The top 2 teams will then face off in the finals on May 10th to determine the inaugural winners of the tournament.
If the last year’s exhibition match between Supernovas and Trailblazers were to be of any indication, this tournament would definitely be a cracker. Last year, when they met in Mumbai, Harmanpreet Kaur-led Supernovas beat Smriti Mandhana’s Trailblazers by 3 wickets in a last-ball finish. Trailblazers huffed-and-puffed to 129/6 in their 20 overs and fought well to bring it down to the last ball of the game, with Supernovas’ Vastrakar clinching the match in the end with a single.
This year, the Supernovas and Trailblazers would be joined by a third team – Velocity. While the Supernovas and Trailblazers would be captained by Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana like last year, Mithali Raj will break away from the Supernovas to be the captain for Velocity. Unlike last year when players from only Australia, New Zealand and England were present, this year will feature players from New Zealand, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The Indian contingent will be joined by the likes of prominent international names as follows:
- New Zealand: Lea Tahuhu, Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates and Amelia Kerr
- England: Natalie Sciver, Sophie Ecclestone and Danielle Wyatt
- West Indies: Shakira Selman, Hayley Matthews and Stefanie Taylor
- Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu
- Bangladesh: Jahanara Alam
Supernovas will be coached by the current Indian women’s team coach WV Raman while Trailblazers and Velocity would be coached by the current Indian Women’s team fielding coach Biju George and the former Indian women’s team captain Mamatha Maben respectively. Mamatha Maben applied for the post of Indian women’s team coach after Ramesh Powar’s exit last year but was not selected.
There is bound to be an exciting raw talent on display ably guided by the experience of the world’s biggest names in women’s cricket. However, the Australian women cricketers will be sorely missed at the event. Also missed will be some prominent world players, a few of which are mentioned below:
Amy Jones (England): Amy Jones is an excellent upcoming wicket-keeping batswoman for England. Not only is she consistent with the bat and good behind the stumps, she also was in top form in the most recent tour to Sri Lanka. She scored a half-century in each of the 3 ODIs played recently against Sri Lanka and also in the last T20 game there. She demonstrated her ability to adapt to T20 cricket by scoring those runs at a fairly good clip too. A few more games, especially on tough surfaces in India, should have boosted her confidence and experience to tackle such pitches later in her career. She would have been an exciting talent to look out for too.
Anya Shrubsole (England): England’s strike bowler Anya Shrubsole is an important asset for any bowling team. She is a match-winner who thrives in high-pressure situations. Who can forget her performance during the Women’s World Cup final in 2017 in the grandest stage of them all – Lords? She single-handedly dismantled India’s middle-order and won the game for her team. She has all the right ingredients – she is fast, accurate and very consistent and can put the best batsmen on their toes. Having played only 63 matches, she is third on the list of highest wicket-takers in Women’s T20 cricket with 86 wickets at a measly average of just under 14! She is a perfect death-bowler for her team.
Sarah Taylor (England): Sarah Taylor has played a very important role in England’s limited-overs cricket. She has been a solid opener for her team. She scores runs consistently and at a very reasonable pace making her a very important and reliable player for her team. She has scored 2000+ runs in Women’s T20 International from 89 matches at over a-run-a-ball and has 16 half-centuries to her name. She is also a very good wicket-keeper having tremendous experience, excellent situation-awareness and quick hands. She is the most successful wicket-keeper in Women’s T20Is with 73 dismissals having taken 23 catches and effected 50 stumpings. She has also accounted for 16 dismissals in Women’s Big Bash League in only 14 matches with 5 catches and 11 stumpings.
Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand): Amy Satterthwaite is an experienced player and a solid middle-order batswoman for New Zealand. She is the current captain of her team, having taken over the reins from Suzie Bates. She is third on the list of highest run-getters in T20 cricket for New Zealand having scored 1500+ runs. She has also scored 1200 runs in Women’s Big Bash League and 500+ runs in Women’s Cricket Super League. She is also a handy bowler who can fill in some overs for her side when required having taken 43 wickets in the Big Bash League. She could have added value by providing valuable inputs arising out of her experience as a player and as a captain of New Zealand.
Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand): Leigh Kasperek has been a frontline bowler for New Zealand and has been quite successful in her career. In only 38 T20Is played, she has taken as many as 58 wickets at an unbelievable average of under 13 runs per wicket! Fast, lethal and accurate, she can take a few quick wickets to bring the opposition on the backfoot and take the game away from them. Along with Shrubsole, she would have been a bowler to watch out for this IPL.
Deandra Dottin (West Indies): If there is any player who can light up the sky with explosive shots, it is the West Indies opener Deandra Dottin. Just like her male compatriot Chris Gayle, she is an immense power-hitter that can clear boundaries with ease. If she can get off to a rapid start like she usually does, she is difficult to contain and can help her team set or chase down difficult targets. She has scored 2300+ runs from 110 matches in T20 International cricket at a very impressive strike rate of 125.37. In fact, she has the highest career strike rate in T20 international cricket among all players scoring atleast 500 runs. She has hit the fastest hundred in Women’s T20 cricket – off only 38 balls. She also features thrice in the list of fastest fifties in Women’s T20 cricket – off 22 balls against Australia and 25 and 26 balls against South Africa cementing her place as a batting powerhouse. She has also picked 59 wickets at an average of just 18 making her a complete package for any team.
Anisa Mohammed (West Indies): Anisa Mohammed is the frontline spinner for West Indies Women’s team. She is an experienced, accurate wicket-taking bowler. Her record in Women’s T20 Internationals say it all. She is the leading wicket-taker in Women’s T20 cricket having taken 115 wickets from 102 matches at an average of under 17 runs per wicket. She has conceded runs at under a-run-a-ball and takes a wicket every 18 balls on an average. She can be damaging for any opposition having taken as many as 4 four-fors and 3 five-wicket hauls with the best figures of 5 wickets for only 10 runs. She can be very effective in the middle-overs by drying up the runs while picking regular wickets.
Dane Van Niekerk (South Africa): If Deandra Dottin plays the role of a destructive opener, then Dane Van Niekerk from South Africa is among her team’s Most Valuable Player. She is a consistent batswoman scoring runs for her team regularly, a very impressive wicket-taking bowler and also a sharp fielder. This makes her among the favorites as an all-rounder for any team. She has scored 1699 runs in T20 cricket in 76 matches at an average of just under 30, having as many as 10 fifties to her name. She has also taken 58 wickets at an average of just over 20 runs conceded per wicket.
Marizanne Kapp (South Africa): Marizanne Kapp forms a very important partnership with Dan Van Niekerk in South African limited-overs cricket. She is just as effective with the ball as she is with the bat. She is a good bowling all-rounder for her team. Although she has been less successful in T20 cricket having taken only 54 wickets and scored only 791 runs in 73 matches, she has proven her worth by picking up 62 wickets in Women’s Big Bash League becoming the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the process. In ODIs, she has taken 109 wickets in 99 matches at an average of just under 25 and scoring 1708 runs with 7 fifties and 1 century to her name.
Shashikala Siriwardene (Sri Lanka): Sri Lanka’s Shashikala Siriwardene would have been a good addition to the Women’s IPL. She is a top-performing, consistent all-rounder that ranks high in batting and well as bowing abilities. She has scored over 1000 runs and taken 69 wickets in 74 appearances in Womens’ T20 cricket for her side. She has hit 2 half-centuries and taken 2 four-fors to prove her credentials as a capable all-rounder for any team. She can be a reliable batswoman to score some runs when required and also to fill in some overs when required.
The Women’s IPL gets underway in Jaipur from May 6th, 2019. However, we will miss the Australian Women’s Team and a few of the big names as mentioned above. However, we will also get to see some world-class overseas players and talented domestic players in action which can make for very compelling viewing.
Here’s hoping that the Women’s IPL 2019 becomes as exciting as the Men’s IPL play-off and can become a regular feature in the cricket calendar for years to come. I wish all the players and support staff the very best and hope that they can keep the women’s cricket flag flying high.